I once read a review of a new Billy Collins collection that was written in the style of (and as a parody of) Collins’ style. It was a fair point. One could do the same thing with this collection. Strand is, to some extent, showing off, demonstrating a wry touch as he presents us less with poems than familiar props that are often found in poems. In one of his plays, Steve Martin wondered what would happen to certain people’s work if we detached the name from it. Would we still admire a Picasso if we didn’t know it was a Picasso? And I very much wondered that as I read this collection. If Strand wasn’t a Pulitzer Prize winner, would anyone have even noticed, much less published, much less applauded these poems?

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