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Compromises Will Be Different

Robert Rehder

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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  •         I am writing these poems
            As fast as I can

            So that I do not miss out on my late style
            Which will be extremely allusive,

            Very simple,
            Freer than anything I've ever done.

            (The compromises will be different.)
                    from 'Corminboeuf 157'

    In this, his first collection of poems, the American Robert Rehder, urbane and wily and middle-aged, pursues the wraith of happiness in leisurely and good-natured couplets which touch in one way and another on every aspect of a modern, largely urban, world, making sense of its nonsense and putting in doubt some of its most cherished stabilities. History is not safe from his probing ironies which reveal unexpected poignancies and the little human foibles which result in large events. Comedy and satire, deployed with his restraint and delicacy, are as deadly as Juvenal's, and telling because Robert Rehder and his kind are implicated in them. He once described Wallace Stevens as 'intensely playful and utterly serious, as serious as Mozart', and on a different scale this description fits his own work. Though he does not slay the sacred cows -- the Harold Blooms, the political correctnesses -- he does prod them out of the immediate roadway, to get where he is going, which is usually to a point of wry clarity.
    Robert Rehder was born and grew up in eastern Iowa. He attended Princeton, where he majored in Near Eastern studies. He studied at the Ecole des langues orientales in Paris and at the University of Tehran, then returned to Princeton to do a PhD in Near Eastern Studies. He has worked ... read more
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