Critical Commentary

Climbing into the Roots (Harper & Row)

“Reading Climbing into the Roots I wondered how many more lovely poems are waiting for poets to find and put down. Saner has widened the range of possibility, has increased all our chances. It’s a beautiful book.”

- Richard Hugo

“Saner’s is not an easy optimism, it’s a courage that comes from facing up to grief and loss, from stepping out of the self and acknowledging the otherness of the world.”

-Susan Wood, Houston Chronicle

“Clear images that demonstrate man’s unseverable link to nature . . . as an informing presence, and end in itself rather than a consolation prize. Saner’s verse has the clarity and crispness of that theme.”

- Booklist

“. . . a voice whose calm and humor and sincerity inform poetry that is powerful and strong and self-assured: intelligent, manly in expression, and never oafishly macho.”

-Tess Sullivan-Daly, Worcester Telegram

“The overall effect . . . is an exhilarating tension of the sublime and the ridiculous, of gravity and legerity expressed in evocative, hard-won, carefully marshalled language.

- David Young, Field

So This Is the Map (Random House)

“Saner’s maturity appears both in the breadth of his vision and in the sureness of his technical command. . . . muscular energy plays throughout the book.”

- Louis Martz, The Yale Review

“No mere descriptive poet, his book no Field Guide, Reg Saner’s poems are about the process of knowing the world, about its mysterious reflection of depths within us. To mistake him for a naturalist would be to miss the refined power of his meditative Song.”

- J.D. McClatchey, Poetry

“His real concern is with man’s position and role with respect to nothing less than the cosmos. . . . Saner is one of those few poets in whom we can see a reflection of the actual knowledge of today.”

- Peter Stitt, The Georgia Review

“In the same National Poetry Series as Larry Levis’s book and Michael Ryan’s So This Is the Map, chosen by Derek Walcott, begins with their premise–that wisdom may be unattainable. But Saner’s more intricate craftsmanship, and more generous vision, produces a book with something to say. . . .”

- Mary Jo Salter, Washington Post

“Saner seems to speak from a depth beyond emotion and reason–a third place, where desire and logic no longer struggle, and grace enters. Not simple felicity, but grace in the old sense.

- Joe Hutchison, The Bloomsbury Review

“Saner is not an idle poet of nature. Like Wendell Berry, he . . . writes of challenging the land, looking to learn man’s right relationship to it, and, in the process, establishing a dialogue that is as humbling and instructive as that between man and God.”

- Fred Smock, Louisville Courier Journal

“Though description is his forte, Saner’s inventions are often strangely moving, even when his personal terrain is not immediately accessible.”

- ALA Booklist

“By far the best [of the five books] is Reg Saner’s So This Is the Map, by a meditative, philosophical poet concerned with the good old questions–why are we here? where are we going?–and with finding a language for them in the elements, in earth, air, fire, and water.”

- Nicholas Bromwell, New Boston Review

Essay on Air  (Ohio Review Books)

“Like all original poets, he seems to have created a style free from of the contemporary traps. . . . This is an important and superb book and it belongs in every library with a poetry collection.”

- Brendan Galvin, Choice

 “Saner uses a line with more subtlety and power than do most poets, combining the short, biting line with a longer lyrical line that carries his richly varied cadences. He’s not afraid to be difficult.”

- Sam Hamill, American Book Review

“ . . . when one takes into consideration the thematic daring and range of Essay on Air, its expansive of style becomes as appropriate and necessary as it is inspriing. . . . Reg Saner is one of our most important originals.”

- Peter Stitt, The Georgia Review