Mark Strand’s easy-going charm and labored whimsy have a Seventies feel, as if the Bee Gees had never retired. The prose poems in Almost Invisible tilt toward contrived fables and dopey meditations, at worst self-indulgent musings after the imagination has shut down for the day and at best Kafka lite.1 Strand has always been a misfit in American poetry, his sleight-of-hand surrealism only half embraced, his strongest emotion subject to puckish doubt. He’s a master of the throwaway line (and also the throwaway poem, but I’ve used that joke about Ashbery). A banker walks into a brothel of blind women and claims he is a...

 
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