Fellow poet Sydney Lea writes of Robert Cording that his ''measured verse moves with ease, showing none of the over-management and willfulness evident in much so-called New Formalism; equally unstrained are his free verse lines, or more accurately his sentences, which everywhere satisfy Pound's demand that poetry be at least as well written as good prose.'' Cording's ''September 3,'' a spin off a line from Virginia Woolf's journal, testifies: ''I imagine she sat at dusk in the orchard, / The first apples already dropped, flaming / In the grass. I imagine the earth's slow turning / Was like an ache inside her, / One day undone by another, and yet each day / Arriving as if it would be the day / She'd understand what happens, for what reasons.'' Sentimentality is absent here, but not ardor. Cording's subjects inhabit the quotidian with a quiet mastery and weight, compassing his son's babble-talk and innocent (though frightening) proclamation ''when he / Gets bigger, he'll be me,'' a night's insomnia reading Emerson and a meditation on Saint Francis ''undoing the daily harm no one could ever alter in his life.'' It's near impossible to recommend one of these titles over the other; but given unhurried attention, both speak ''A silence I knew would be my end / And of which everything I loved was made.''
An Eighth Day View:
Poetry. HEAVY GRACE is the third collection of poems by Robert Cording, exploring what he terms the "deep syntax of grief" with spirituality and humbleness. "Cording recognizes that the 'heart cannot be comforted,' yet his stern poems offer a measure of solace, a kind of grace - a way to live in ther here, the now." - Christopher Merrill