Reviews

Review of Listen | Nina McLaughlin | The Boston Globe

“He is, by turns, matter of fact, nailing the sometimes-funny sometimes-sad absurdity of the world. . . [a]nd warmly sensual.”

Review of Listen | Michael Escoubas | Quill & Parchment

In an age of informational overload . . . listening deeply, processing what we are hearing and reading, qualifies as an endangered species. Enter Cramer with his new volume.

Review of Listen | Clarissa Adkins | Sugar House Review

Listen calls us to be aware, and in the questioning that occurs from attentiveness, asks us to listen more fully.”

Review of Listen | Joyce Peseroff | Woven Tale Press Magazine

“With Listen, Steven Cramer illuminates a life’s journey while provoking reflection on our deepest, half-understood desires.”

Commentary on “Bad,” from Listen | Jill Allyn Rosser | Best American Poetry Sunday Blog, July 29, 2012

. . .the clincher that makes this poem memorable for me is Cramer’s exquisite syntax in ‘let’s let things not get even worse’ as opposed to the more idiomatic ‘let’s not let things get even worse.’”

Commentary on Part One of “Three Versions of Mandelstam,” from Listen | Steven Ratiner| Red Letter Poem

“His writing has such keen emotional nuance and imaginative daring, he knows how much faith a poet must place in the art form. . .”

Review of Clangings | Trena Machado | New Pages

Wrenched word combinations arise out of using sound in this way: Obituary magi, greener chameleon, turquoise girls, blue-sprained boys, head’s high beams, glittering snow loaves, glister of venom, seraph cigarette . . . combinations that make our hearts beat faster, our synapses glow.

Review of Clangings | Lisa C. Krueger | Poets’ Quarterly

Clangings is more than wordplay and clever riffs. . . . Language separates us, language connects us – our demise, our opportunity. Cramer’s book brings us full circle to self – who am I without language? Clangings reverberates.

Review of Clangings | Irene Koronas | Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene Blog

This is a fantastic read and an enormous gift for anyone who appreciates good poetry.”

Review of Clangings | Dylan Mace | Sugar House Review

Cramer’s method . . . suggests that the human experience of any person,  be they mentally ill or not, is relatively similar to that of the rest of the species. Even when their communication is garbled and disjointed, we are able to glean meaning and understanding, and to empathize with their suffering.

Commentary on “Nice,” from Goodbye to the Orchard | Anni Liu, Poetry Editor | Indiana Review

“Through all its facets of meanings and associations, the word ‘nice’ returns to us newly full of insatiable longing for all the benign yet essential details of life.”

Review and ratings for Goodbye to the Orchard | Goodreads

Accessible poems and beautiful in many cases, especially the ones that deal with his sister’s death from cancer–I’m always impressed when such a deeply painful experience is articulated in a moving way. Particular favorites included: ‘Lack,’ ‘Body on the Brain,’ and ‘Goodbye to the Orchard.’

Review of The World Book | H.L. Hix | Ploughshares

“Cramer’s poems fight sentiment with our only available weapons: knowledge and integrity. His work recognizes and confronts the stupidity of adolescence, the ambiguity of political action, the facelessness of death, and the selfishness of grief. And ultimately, the poems, rather than succumbing to sentimentality, achieve intimacy.”