Amy Glynn’s poems are Linnaean love songs sung by a heart-bruised Sappho. Her brilliant Romance Language thrills to the natural world in all its boggling multiplicity, while reserving a barrage of tart ironies for the fallen humans who inhabit it—the lovers who fail us and those, long gone, we can never let go of. Glynn understands that science is no check to mystery, that we subsist in “an ocean of cadence” that was here before us: “The beginning was music. There was music first.” Her songs channel that original music “of tide, chaos, and rhythm” with such fierceness and sorrow that we are compelled to listen. Their effect is revelatory.
—David Yezzi, author of More Things in Heaven and Late Romance: Anthony Hecht
Moving from Tierra del Fuego to Rome, from Calypso’s island to the flight of swifts, the poems in Romance Language consistently, and seemingly without effort, manage a remarkable feat: they’re unfailingly attentive to the situational subtext that underlies each foray, whether into nature, art, or mythology. With their rueful irony and wit, their candor and self-awareness, these poems are not only technically flawless but also insistently, and sometimes tetchily, human.
—Rachel Hadas, 2022 Able Muse Book Award judge, author of Love and Dread
In this brilliant second book, Amy Glynn has built upon her naturalist’s precision, her musician’s ear, and her talent for unexpected but apt metaphor, with a heightened attention to what we learn in love. Romance Language is as much about language, though, as it is about romance. Glynn is a dazzling word-hoarder and -shaper. With serious wit, she entwines autobiography with the life of other creatures (most beautifully, birds) and knows our own scale in the landscape and seascape. For all her artifice, her plainest truths are the most moving, as when she hopes for a “gift // for seeing as a gift whatever happens / to us.” These poems “happen” to the reader as a great gift, too.
—Mary Jo Salter, author of Zoom Rooms and The Surveyors
Glynn brings a polymathic sensibility to her writing, conversant in both high and vernacular diction on subjects ranging widely from science and classical literature to current politics and pop culture. The poems—bold, vibrant, mercurial, mysterious, sometimes wickedly funny, and always highly musical—remind me that form is a living, breathing part of our contemporary canon. Whether fixed like the sonnet or ghazal, or nonce, or in the form no one likes to admit is a form—free verse—these poems are constructed with great passion and precision, and the result is a luminous, powerful, and utterly original outpouring.
—Rebecca Foust, author of Paradise Drive and Only