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“Doyle writes highly original poems . . .”

“Doyle writes highly original poems… poems steeped in both meaning and musicality… whether she is constructing in free verse or in more traditional forms, Doyle’s surprising creations use ‘sound as a doorway to sense’… Doyle’s poems are serious and complex, but also witty and playful, and it’s this tension that makes her writing so innovative… although she is a poet and not a fiction writer, she shares Flannery O’Connor and Faulkner’s Southern-gothic flair for unsettling (sometimes comic) domestic scenes. The Brontë sisters, Isak Dinesen’s tales, and Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” also spring to mind, for in Doyle’s modern-day rhymes, there are most certainly goblins lurking in the forest and madwomen hiding in the attic…”

from Gwarlingo [more]

“Doyle’s poems are deeply attentive to the valences of meaning and sound in each word, giving them almost magical power…”

“When I read a poem by Caitlin Doyle, I’m drawn back into my first childhood encounters with poetry… the way language is, for young children, a spell before all else, a material for play that creates both meaning and song. But Doyle’s poems are, decidedly, not “children’s poetry.” What at first sounds simple hides darker, more complex tones. Doyle’s poems are deeply attentive to the valences of meaning and sound in each word, giving them almost magical power. Upon repeated readings, they flower. It is as if Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience have been braided together, so that the child cannot escape the looming dark, just as the adult remains lulled by the sounds that first ordered their world…”

from Emerging Poets Feature at 32 Poems Magazine [more]

Caitlin Doyle’s “exquisite formally driven poem makes poignant observations…”

Caitlin Doyle’s “exquisite formally driven poem makes poignant observations about the challenges of adulting. One of them being that we evenually actualize as grownups and settle into our roles, however, not without those occasional feelings of loneliness, failure, and hard-earned victories…”

Major Jackson, The Slowdown  [more]

“Doyle is a rising star in American poetry…”

from The Irish Echo [more]

“Poet Caitlin Doyle… grew up in an Irish immigrant household where poetry and song were ever-present… while so many young poets today are writing free verse… Doyle often prefers a more formal style… to use language in a way that prompts readers to let down their guard and enter a poem for the visceral pleasure of the sounds…”

… from PBS NewsHour Poetry Series [more]

“This poem is a masterpiece masquerading as a Mother Goose rhyme…”

from judge’s commentary on “Wish,” Frost Farm Poetry Prize [more]           

“Funfair rides provide a giddying setting for an ambiguous and perilous erotic merry-go-round…”

“Carnival” by Caitlin Doyle “demonstrates the effectiveness of a combination of story and song, with each element being used to complement and complicate the other. The poem’s external patterning depends on the carefully interlocked symmetry and repetition we associate with songs and their pleasurable memorability, but the narrative itself is oblique and teasing, with the potential for carnivalesque disruption…”

The Guardian Poetry Column [more]

“Caitlin Doyle writes haunting and memorable poetry…”

“Caitlin Doyle writes haunting and memorable poetry about the familiar and the strange. Her poetry is a fine example of what I call strategic artistry, as if her words have been carefully held back until they burst into light at just the right moment…”  

…Ted Kooser, American Life In Poetry [more]

Caitlin Doyle is a poet with “a gorgeous, original imagination…”

Robert Pinsky

from Boston University Today [more]

“Much has been made of her work with rhyme and wordplay….”

“Much has been made of her work with rhyme and wordplay, which she employs to heighten the ominousness of her subjects… But something more complex than wordplay is at work… Her true aim is something different, and serves a specific purpose: to examine the merits and dysfunctions of faux worlds (call them self-delusion, fantasy, or simply nothingness) that haunt and displace traditional realities… as in the darkly wonderful “If Siegfried and Roy Had Never Met,” which creates for the two performers an alternate narrative… In the ominous “Ocean City,” a similar dichotomy edges the dueling shores, one festooned with false idols of commerce, the other all too real… These mirror images bleed together, Escher-like and unsettling… Doyle is keenly attuned to the haunting counterparts to the authentic…”

from “Doyle & the Ersatz Life” [more]

“Not It” by Caitlin Doyle is “fast-paced and fear-provoking… a compressed ‘coming of age’ where time incessantly makes out-of-time demands…”

In “Not It” by Caitlin Doyle, “death hovers in the dark; the word Not becomes a tocsin and a toxin. When “the wind / makes
ghost-chimes of the Not,” that brief allusion to the supernatural is a reminder of the ballad form Doyle has adapted for her story. The traditional fatalism of the ballad is imported with marvelous effect… by creating a single continuously flowing sentence across the eight verses, using frequent repetition and denoting the time frame with terms like “now” and “as,” Doyle blurs past, present, and future… she reveals the umbilical connection of childhood to adulthood. In the poem’s interpretation of “coming of age,” there’s no transfiguration. The old patterns, newly intensified, must be repeated. But perhaps there’s also a certain consoling pride in a role that uniquely includes being both It and Not It…”

The Guardian Poetry Column [more]

“Caitlin Doyle… stands out… as a poet for whom the structures of rhyme and meter are so embedded in the ear and imagination that her formal play feels as reflexive as laughter…” 

“Today’s ‘Poem of the Day,’ which won the Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry… alternates unrhymed mostly-trimeter couplets with single parenthetical, tetrameter lines which, though they change, function as a rhymed refrain or antiphon. The poem’s call and response echoes both the ticking of a clock and the movement of a mind arguing with itself. At the mind’s forefront, a conscious voice rehashes and rationalizes the dissolution of a love affair. The second interior voice, meanwhile, resonant as a heartbeat, knows better and tells a bitter truth…” 

… The NY Sun Poetry Column [more]

Thirteen by Caitlin Doyle is such a remarkable combination of ideas…”

Thirteen by Caitlin Doyle is such a remarkable combination of ideas and wordplay around the transformations to a girl in her thirteenth year that it is like a socks-on-carpet spark to the brain…”

from a review of Best New Poets [more]

“Doyle’s poem “Not It”… dances around the dread of lost youth… The eeriness of Doyle’s poem, its atmospheric menace, comes precisely from its formal techniques…” 

         “Caitlin Doyle’s “Not It”… lifts to the reader’s lips a spoonful of what E.A. Robinson calls “the blank taste of time”… The thirty-two line poem consists of one long sinuous sentence. There is nowhere to stop and breathe, and that’s part of the point… Doyle repeats several phrases, chopping and blending them until, like a word uttered a hundred times, they leak the bright fluid of meaning. Denotation fades. Music obtains… Reading this poem feels like being a child and spinning in a circle to savor dizziness… What is pursuing the speaker? Death? Time? No abstraction seems appropriate, because whatever it is, whatever dreadful thing pursues the speaker through the poem’s fugitive syntax, it lives in the poem’s sound. It moves in repetition, in half-rhymes… in the dance of hymn meter… Yet there is a paradox here… The eeriness of Doyle’s poem, its atmospheric menace, comes precisely from its formal techniques… The world pulses through the squares of the net, caught but angry…”

Forester McClatchey, 32 Poems Marginalia Series [more]

“Doyle’s devotion to musicality is the edifice of her poetry…”

“Doyle’s devotion to musicality is the edifice of her poetry… she uses rhyme as a device to puncture the expectations of the physical world… producing work both cosmopolitan and mythic… Doyle’s poems, whether playful or serious in tone, always possess layers of complexity that reward multiple readings… Doyle’s technical approaches vary widely, and so do her subjects and tones… She examines history, popular culture, and personal experience, all with equal commitment and depth… For Doyle, formal considerations and rhythmic effects exist in a rich and complicated relationship to one another…”

from “Emerging Poets to Watch” [more]

Caitlin Doyle’s poems “harness tradition to allow expression of a voice that is fresh, urgent, and resonant…”

Rebecca Foust

Rebecca Foust highlights Caitlin’s work as an example of how “form can set you free in your writing and reading of poetry…”

from Poetry Sunday  [more]

“Among established writers from Ireland’s literati… one of the new voices is that of Irish-American Caitlin Doyle…”

“Among established writers from Ireland’s literati, such as Séamus Heaney, Gerard Smyth, Bernard O’Donoghue, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, William Wall and Matthew Sweeney, one of the new voices is that of Irish-American Caitlin Doyle, an emerging poet who has published widely in America…” 

from The Irish Examiner [more]

“Caitlin’s Doyle poetry moves effortlessly from wit to profundity…”

“Caitlin Doyle’s poetry moves effortlessly from wit to profundity, a tonal range matched by a remarkable breadth of technical ability …” from Apostrophe Cast [more]

“The annual faculty reading is one of Boston’s most distinguished literary events…”

“… Where can you find a three-time US poet laureate, the poetry critic for The New Yorker, and three acclaimed novelists, along with two literary newcomers, each in possession of a highly original voice, all on the same stage? … Doyle, currently the writer-in-residence and a teacher at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, plans to read from her work-in-progress poetry collection, Tea in Eden…” 

… from Boston University Today [more]

“Whether using her inventive artistry to forge formal verse or free verse, Doyle creates poems that buzz with complicated nuances…”

“Whether using her inventive artistry to forge formal verse or free verse, Doyle creates poems that buzz with complicated nuances beneath their pared-down and haunting surfaces… She builds her poems in such a way that they seek space in the reader’s memory… Technical savvy and emotional content function in tandem, reflecting and playing off of each other… Doyle strives for and accomplishes the kind of artistry that lets her record the world with accuracy while also creating it anew… Caitlin Doyle’s oeuvre, accessible yet richly layered, full of razor-edged skill, and packed with invention and technical versatility, suggests that her much-anticipated first book will be one of the most original and memorable debut collections to hit the shelves in a long time…”

from The Critical Flame [more]

“I found the narrative persona in these poems to be playful and inventive … a sly meditation on how artistry can seem more meaningful and true than reality…”

“I found the narrative persona in these poems to be playful and inventive. This is a narrator who responds actively to the world and uses imagery to challenge seemingly ordinary things … In the very first poem, the narrator has so much fun using language to recreate sound effects, which are recreated sounds… a sly meditation on how artistry can seem more meaningful and true than reality …”

from judge’s commentary, WC & C Scholarship Competition [more]

“Readings by acclaimed young writers . . .”

The Distant Voices Poetry Festival featured readings by “two acclaimed young writers… New York poet Caitlin Doyle (featured in Best New Poets, edited by Kim Addonizio), and award-winning South African poet/journalist Henk Rossouw…”

from Distant Voices Poetry Festival [more]