False Spring, Darren Bifford’s second collection of poetry, is a book largely concerned with various forms of collapse and cultural disintegration. These are poems of considerable weight and great energy at once, so that the impression is of a large-muscled animal that is also nimble. They are the work of an engaged moral imagination, alive with the conceptual issues of the times embedded in experience; their “philosophical” import speaks out of the poetic act itself.
Bifford seems always in active conversation, dialogue, dispute with figures from literary and classical traditions. There is also a set of “translations” of a Polish poet of Bifford’s invention, which permit him to write, Pessoa-like, in another voice — even if it shares a few features (as a disillusioned Pole writing of general collapse) with his own.
While non-confessional in intent, the poems do attend to the inner pitch — like a white noise — which the events of the world sound. The book thus contends with a nostalgia for old forms without belying any sustained confidence in their veracity.
Poetry Review — Montreal Review of Books