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Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016
16777215 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Winner of this year's National Book Award for poetry, Half-Light contains more than 50 years' worth of Bidart's poetry—all defined by the simmering intensity he's brought to themes of sexuality, love and violence. In his recent work, he's faced aging head-on, contemplating the loss of lovers and family members, as in "For the AIDS Dead": "The plague you have thus far survived. They didn't. / Nothing that they did in bed that you didn't." Bidart can rage in capital letters, imagine vivid, troubling dreamscapes, or soberly contemplate classical poets, but he's consistently defined by a style that gracefully navigates a tightrope between mournfulness and beauty.
— Mark Athitakis