Collected Poems

(Poetry; Knopf, 2004)

A colleague of Donald Justice once spoke of seeing drafts of a poem spread across the poet’s desk at his home in Florida and likened the mess of revisions to a jigsaw puzzle that one leaves and comes back to now and then. As it turns out, Justice had been working on that particular poem for nearly a year. Reading through his Collected Poems, one can imagine he chose his words topographically, the way one looks over a pile of puzzle pieces: those matched vowels and half-rhymes like the little carefully shaped tongues and grooved niches of the jigsaw.

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