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II. Reviews of LISTENING TO THE CANDLE: A POEM ON IMPULSE
(Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1992; New York: New Directions, 1992)


Roger Mitchell, American Book Review, December 1993-January 1994, 25-27: "There is nothing quite like these books, despite their acknowledged heritage in the tradition of the personal epic....It is in their intentions and in their sense of form and language that these works are most original....Scott's trilogy, only two thirds completed as yet, is certain to be one of the most remarkable and challenging works of our time."

Charles Guenther, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/29/92: "'Listening to the Candle' and its earlier companion volume may yet be recognized among the masterpieces of our time in narrative poetry."

Publishers Weekly, August 10, 1992: * [i.e., recommended] "... autobiographical elements form the core of this impressive book-length poem....Through 200 pages of tight three-line stanzas, the poet extends the limits of personal history by incorporating quotations... from over 150 sources in a context that stretches his emotional journey. Past and present converge, but the imagery is so relevant to its particular time that readers should easily locate themselves....The subtitle makes one wish more contemporary poets gave way to such uninhibited yet crafted exploration."

Publishers Weekly, November 2, 1992, 44: on short list of four recommended books (with Gerald Stern, William Matthews, Sharon Olds) after four best books of poetry for 1992 (by Jean Garrigue, Louise Gluck, Derek Mahon, and Charles Simic).

Wisconsin Bookwatch, February 1993, 6: "A book of great richness wherein self-knowledge is more at issue than self-alienation; art perhaps overshadowing politics."

Daniel Morris, Harvard Review (Winter 1993), 1-3: "While Scott resists the Eliotic attempt to extinguish personality in order to tell the story of the culture as a whole, he also chooses to write a poetry which is distinct from the work of Frank O'Hara or the very late notebook poetry of Robert Lowell....The wisdom that Scott achieves in this poem, and that he embodies in its flexible, inclusive structure, is that we must search for a way between what he calls the 'brutality' of civilization and the mindless anarchy that he says will soon lead to brutality; the way is achieved in the act of making, as Scott advocates....The poet's attempt to 'comprehend' rather than to 'impose' order -- his openness to patterns that happen to exist -- is a feature of the poem's effortless style. Scott presents to readers a way toward the making of a less aggressive (which is to say, contemporary) form of modern poetry."

Marion K. Stocking, Beloit Poetry Journal," Spring 1993, 36-39: "To me this appears as a major Romantic poem for our era: a "Prelude," evaluating the century in terms of the growth of the poet's mind: like Byron and Shelley, profoundly engaged in the political and social evils of the age; like all Romantics, concerned...with Becoming, Time, Change, and Many."

Alan Williamson, American Poetry Review, 23/1, January/February 1994, 36-37: "The poem gets, in its wonderful Williams-like slippages, the odd vagary of meditation -- wandering over trivial learning and a lifetime's forgotten experience -- as many more committed poets have not. But it gets, too, the fundamental insight: that it takes 'dar[ing]' -- but brings immense restoration -- to...simply be where we are....Whether the issue is the role of linguistic error in early childhood memories, New Historicist misgivings about the ethics of Spenser and Shakespeare, or the value of sexual liberationism, Scott has a charming way of moving through both sides of any argument....No book in recent memory is more venturesome in its intellectual voyages than this one, yet one of its most attractive qualities is its dogged humanism."

Mark Abley, Montreal Gazette, April 4, 1992: "A student of Zen, he has a Zen-like gift for radiant, unexpected images: `the smooth circle / on the back of my wrist / where my watch / is missing,' or `the cramped bucket seat / of her flimsily hooded MG / in the snowblack Canadian night.' And there's something more, too, that drives this book, leavening its lyricism with fire: Scott's corrosive honesty about himself."

J.N. Igo Jr., Choice, Feb. 1993: "cool cerebral nourishment of a kind long lacking."

Daria Donnelly, Chicago Review 44/3&4, 1998: "a vividly intelligent portrait of...coming to terms...in gratitude and the spirit of forgiveness....a continuously surprising memoir...also a sustained meditation on poetry....His Zen way...seeks enlightenment, achieved by a discipline of bringing to mind what the mind has hidden, both dark and light."