A sonnet sequence about falling in love after 9/11. Winner of the Dorset Prize, published by Tupelo Press in 201
Beyond pastoral—or perhaps in keeping with the tensions by which pastoral is generated—Severance Songs is also a specimen of that other thoroughly outdated and suspect mode, serial love poetry (in this case addressed to the poet’s future wife). It is a work of improvised yet layered experimentalism, commendable both for its deep engagement with the thorny philosophical problems of writing pastoral in the 21st century and for the smart, sensual verve of its verse-craft.
—Stephen Ross, Wave Composition, 25 May 2013
Corey’s “fallible poem[s]” (an honest phrase) approach the asymptote of truth but, like all poetry and all life, fail to reach it. We are left with an angel in one hand and an ass in the other, braying Bottom waking up from a dream that doesn’t give any clear sense of what to make of past or future. We are left with a legacy of others’ words and a traditional form that is stretched into new shapes.
It is a poetry full of action, but more often devoted to the history of poetry itself: altered quotations from Shakespeare, from John Ashbery ("This poem is the war on a very plain level"), from Wallace Stevens, and others spackle the gleaming surfaces of Corey's work. The variety, not just in topic but in kinds of line, tone, angle of vision, sets his work apart.