Wild Civility

David Biespiel
MFA, 1991
University of Washington, 2003
David Biespiel's long poetic lines fairly crackle with rhythmic energy and a jazzy, bittersweet richness of language. Rolling out across the page like darkly luminous highways, his innovative, nine-line "American sonnets" promise adventure, offering a variant on the sonnet form that is both lyric and dramatic and bringing his masterful formal inventiveness to free verse. 'I've come to imagine the nine-line sonnet to be like one of those classic Thunderbirds', says Biespiel, 'something distinctly American: wide, roomy, and with a robust engine'. The vastly varied voices within the poems are united by a wonderfully limber diction.Using with revelatory precision the vocabularies of history, science, art, sport, philosophy, religion, literature, government, and domestic life, Biespiel has crafted a hip, musical, elastic language that travels the registers of expression: lush and coarse, gaudy and austere, pliant and rigidly tough. The civility of the poems is the form; the wildness is the bristling energy of the language. Passionate, resilient, rich with wit and word play, these poems affirm David Biespiel's increasing stature as a poet of remarkable accomplishment and promise. David Biespiel teaches English at Oregon State University and is Writer in Residence at The Attic in Portland, Oregon. He is also the author of "Shattering Air".