Poet's Choice

By Robert Pinsky
Sunday, December 16, 2007

The mind, wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins, has "cliffs of fall" that are "no-man-fathomed," suggesting a jagged, dangerous terrain with unexpected and potentially lethal gulfs. Sometimes, as in Jill Rosser's new collection of poetry, it's a comic, irritable gesture that recalls the abyss a footstep away:


Every time I'm reminded of the actor

who willed his own skull to repertory

for use as that of poor Yorick

in stagings of Hamlet, I wince to think

I forgot his name. Was it Cooke?

Cronin? Cracken?

Cooke I decide, and

doubt sets in. So the thought I always

nearly have about this morbid legacy

never fully shapes itself. I've almost

had this thought at least a hundred times.

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