Reviewed by Eric Weinstein at Prick of the Spindle

Reviewed by Andy Frazee at The Quarterly Conversation


Visit the main page of Tracer here.


Beyond speaking of possession and dominance, which so often come cloaked in the placating language of stewardship; beyond speaking as merely an observer of the destruction wreaked upon the natural and social environments of this planet — Richard Greenfield’s TRACER brings us back to our senses. In an examination of the savage, and savagely beautiful particularity of our existence, this is equally and essentially a poetry that respects, even as it implicates, the mystery and peril of speaking through one’s own limited frame. A word might at one moment allude to the ‘tracer’ who exposes an image’s delicate outline and then, at the next, to the ‘tracer’ rounds that lethally illuminate a target in the dark. These lyric poems are deeply ethical and austerely honest in their implication of, and reflections upon, the limits of morality and honesty. Nonetheless, this is also a poetry that seeks to emancipate the voice of witness from the generalities of despair through its exacting engagement with this world.

Richard Greenfield is the author of A Carnage in the Lovetrees (University of California Press), which was listed as a Top Ten University Press Book by BookSense in 2003. His poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Electronic Poetry Review, Five Fingers Review, Lit, Soft Targets, Volt, and others. He is co-editor of Apostrophe Books, a small press of poetry. Born in Hemet, California, he spent his early childhood in Southern California and later lived in the Pacific Northwest. He earned a PhD in English from the University of Denver, where he was a Frankel Fellow.