Hannah Tucker
October 27, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In his first new book of poetry in more than a decade, Galway Kinnell delights in earth’s crude beauty via elegantly playful odes to everything that slithers, wriggles, and writhes. ”Immaculate nightcrawlers” populate the poem ”Sex,” ants feast on ”peony globes” in ”Why Regret?” and ”The 26th of December” brings together Google and the chickadee. But his verse is far from frivolous: He uses spare, natural imagery to explore death and tragedy, as in the solemn ”When the Towers Fell.” For enthusiasts with Google-era attention spans, Strong Is Your Hold includes a CD of the professorially voiced poet reading the entire collection.

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