2010 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize
Texas Review Press, 2011

REVIEWS
TheView From Jackass Hill
Front Cover Design Randall Drew

Here is a poet with a real voice, brave and original. He also rhetorically asks questions that hurt. The Jack poems are a triumph, and the use of film imagery and Visa cards attests to his post-Modernism. This is a collection of friendship and vodka, and I can only say, Enjoy!

— Robert Phillips, Series Judge


The Horse's Name Was Physics
Cover: “Cosmic Horse,” Randall Drew

George Drew weaves the story of twentieth century physics together with the lives of the people who helped make it and produces a compelling vision. He uses finely-crafted poetry to recreate a world that will probably continue to influence ours for as long as human beings exist. A remarkable feat and a true treat for the mind and heart.

— Bruce Gregory, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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Amorphous, fact and image laden, for many years “the story of modern physics” has existed in the general atmosphere of my intellectual life, categorized as one of the 20th century's major dramas. Not until I read The Horse's Name Was Physics , did that drama come alive with passion and power wrought by George Drew's economical, graceful and richly nuanced work. The story has moved from my intellect to my psyche, from a vague body of facts and images to my imaginative core. Being able to give this gift to a reader is, to borrow Wallace Stevens' words, “the pure purpose of the pure poet.”

— Gray Jacobik, Brave Disguises

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In The Horse's Name Was Physics George Drew has captured the high tragedy of the terrifying human achievement in physics in the critical years between the two great wars of the 20th Century, and he has done that in graceful poetry (such as when he effectively casts a letter from Teller to Szilard as a villanelle). A courageous undertaking, involving not only science but also politics and history, and not only tragedy but also pathos and comedy as they played into the lives of such leading performers as Einstein, Heisenberg, and Oppenheimer, among others. A work to savor, to be read and reread as poetry, as drama, and as history.

— Harry Staley, All One Breath

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Surely, George Drew's topic—the advent of the atomic bomb—is a myth that came to life and is the stuff, inevitably, of poetry. Drew's book traces with great feeling, drama, and intelligence the movement from speculations about matter to “The Journey of Death.” It is a haunting progress as poetic imagination limns the awe-ful imagination of nuclear physics and the scientists caught in the hell of history.

— Baron Wormser, Subject Matter

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TOADS IN A POISONED TANK

This is a poetry of great integrity. Though its ‘roots' may be Southern, there is also a quality found in much of the best contemporary British poems, a mixture of the colloquial and the piercingly exact, of richly charged language and vigorous speech. The result is a book remarkable for its strength and its spirit, for its restraint and its moments of sudden tenderness. One finishes reading Toads in a Poisoned Tank with a respect for the discipline and courage of both the poems and the poet.

— Christopher Bursk

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It is easy for me to recommend the poems of George Drew. Though a careful study of them shows that they are highly crafted and carefully worked, they read with the ease of diction of a natural storyteller. The people and the places in this first collection are as real and clear as the photos in a family album, described to us in a voice which never lacks compassion, but almost always steers clear of sentimentality.

— Joseph Bruchac

 


 
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