Critical Commentary of Keplinger's Work

Advanced Praise for "The Clearing"

"Like a match struck in the dark, these stark, uncompromising poems compress language to an essential flare of meaning in the face of the undeniable--the lyric impulse striking the hard flint of things. Keplinger's unerring poetry confronts the intractable, the ways we do without, the subtractions of survival, the ravaged Europe of memory. "By dark," he says of the work of the scythe, 'we had made a little clearing.' Few can say so much."
-- Eleanor Wilner

" An enormous heart lies in these risk taking poems whose range, imagination and fresh language always seek precision and the more difficult confidence of a truth: 'The house is a clearing for the human world.' Both his 'reconciliations with order and disorder' are brilliant, and by that I mean those very poems. "
-- Mark Irwin

"The Clearing is a distinctive collection of poems that seems to invent-- before our eyes -- a new metaphysics in poetry. Although the poet most often looks directly at the world, particularly the world of objective reality, he holds that gaze too long for polite company, so that some underbelly, some blue velvet version of things emerges. Like all truly original work, David Keplinger's new book is not an easy, or even a comfortable read, and he demands much from the reader, especially in the face of startling self-indulgences that he somehow manages to make blossom into a raw knowing of our world that is ultimately seductive, and even wise."
-- Bruce Weigl

Praise for The Rose Inside, Winner of the 1999 T.S. Eliot Prize

"[David Keplinger] is an exquisite translator of event and emotion - empathy is weighty here, and the light of a true tenderness is cast upon some of the twilights of the world...This is a wide book and a deep one, alive with marvelous composition and outcry. And yet, for all its zest of expression it is real life and real feeling that is most honored."
-- Mary Oliver