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Reviews | small poet at large

small poet at large

Reviews of You're my favorite horse

These are not poems students write in school. These are not the poems of any young person. Richard Fox has a litany of losses and from them the lessons that only experience can have authored. His themes—illness (cancer), family (both close and distant), Jewish rites (the Mourner’s Kaddish), cemeteries (on land and at sea) and wars (so many of the twentieth century’s) are balanced with one long love poem—an endless poem, really, like its title Mobius Strip—that concludes: “There must be something more.” Fox, winner of the Frank O’Hara Prize, tells us that “Death is the ultimate deadline” but he also knows that the time allotted us, the time within which we consigned to dwell, is ours to measure and so make our own. - John Whittier Treat, author of The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House

“In the title poem of this collection, a woman says, ‘You’re my favorite horse, wish you’d get in the race.’ And indeed, in these poems, Richard Fox is all in, particularly in his race against the cancer that he suspects will soon cut short his life. He captures memories that could well disappear—of his irascible Uncle Louie raising hell at the track, of fishmongers with an arsenal of cleavers and knuckle tins, of Jewish immigrants cracking wise in Yiddish. This doesn't mean the poems are rushed; all the while, he finds time for heartbreaking tenderness, like his wish that his dog will ‘watch over me / to know that my body became a corpse, / to know I didn’t just leave him.’ In You’re My Favorite Horse, Richard Fox has written a book of great humor, compassion, and wisdom.” - Jessica Jacobs, author of Pelvis with Distance and In Whatever Light Is Left To Us

The poems in Richard Fox’s latest collection brim with grace and truth. With great precision and courage, Fox leads the reader into the disorienting darkness of illness and loss, of longing and memory, and illuminates that darkness with wisdom, humor, and hope. This is a stunning book.” - Eliza Locke, author of Kissing In Iceland

Unlike any other form, a poem is a conversation. Richard Fox knows how to bring discourse to an unabashed place which is at once challenging, vulnerable, erotic and superbly human. Death hovers above all and Fox reaches out to touch it with humor and sharp tongue. His words confront and bedazzle cancer, family and faith. Thoughtfully shaped with craft and time, these poems demonstrate what a master can do when he puts his pen to it. - Jim Gustafson, author of Take Fun Seriously, Driving Home, and Unassisted Living   

“In You’re my favorite horse, the latest collection by poet Richard H. Fox, we are taken on an unforgettable adventure. From Fox’s vulnerable bathroom conversations with a crow and a dog, to a crowded and hopeful hospital room with a “boy [who] can sew,” to an unconventional hair salon with a “guillotine notched sink,” we experience the hard truths and deep emotions of illness, loss, love, and regret. In the end, Fox’s wise and exquisite poems remind us, gently and masterfully, that “it is nearly dusk” for each one of us, and ask: What will we do with this light we have left?” - Chloé McFeters author of C is for Courage  and more.