My single dominant first reaction to Robert Phillips' Running on Empty … was "I like this man." The personality behind the voice makes the impression here, not the poet's way of dealing with ideas or exploring new techniques.
In fact, I would not be surprised to hear certain critics rather unfairly refer to this book as Running on Emptyheaded for its lack of intellectual content. Phillips' is the kind of poetry which may be at once the delight of readers and the bane of critics. Intellectual it does not attempt to be. More important to Phillips are his personal reactions to such things as the seasons, flowers, small animals, childhood, aging, and numerous contemporaries. He is...
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