September 16, 2014
Throughout the review, Domina discusses how Brown manages to mesh the technical structure of formal poetry with her own conceits, and to work with a unique plasticity of metaphor while carrying an air of nonchalance.
“All poems, I’m told, are love poems in one way or another,” says Domina. “And the object of all love poems is really the language in which it’s written. …No Need of Sympathy is all about language, and imagination, and memory, and perspective. Perhaps these four nouns ultimately refer to the same thing, but the poems in this book are characterized by a playful variety that doesn’t boil down to just one thing. The poems often develop surprisingly, as one idea leads to another and then turns back on itself, so that one sometimes continues reading just to see where these words will go. More than many contemporary poets I read, Brown relies on rhyme and received form, but she does so subtly, as if the form were almost a coincidence.”
The review continues: “No Need of Sympathy is a collection that is clearly contemporary and yet understands its place in tradition; it is serious without being somber, playful without defaulting to the merely clever. The poems are set in specific geographic locations and often mention individual human beings, and their particularity succeeds in that paradox we hope for from literature, in reading of another to understand ourselves, ‘To let it be who you are.’”