Critical Overview

(Poetry for Students)

Linda Gregg is a respected poet, though some writers approach her work with reservations. In a review of her early book Alma, for example, J. D. McClatchy of the New York Times Book Review notes, “Sometimes . . . [Gregg] has whittled poems down to a monotonous simplicity. And her range is narrow. But within these limitations, her poems shimmer in the cool, mysterious light her passion and intelligence cast on them.” In Library Journal, Rosaly DeMaios Roffman’s review of Alma reveals a consistency from Gregg’s earlier work to her more recent “A Thirst Against.” Roffman finds Gregg’s poems focus on “harsh landscapes which Gregg explores until she can discover her connection to them.”

In a review of Gregg’s collection The Sacraments of Desire in Poetry, Steven Cramer is generally positive, praising the poems with adjectives such as “disarming,” “exhilarating,” and “stunning.” After taking exception with the last section of the book and the way it deals with the residents of a poverty-stricken area of Mexico, Cramer ends his review by saying, “I don’t want to leave the impression that the book as a whole disappoints. . . . The poems are exact about the conflicts inherent in human desires, yet resolutely committed to those moments when we ‘let the spirit marry the heart.’ ” This strong praise, in a major poetry magazine, is indicative of Gregg’s rise to preeminence as one of the...

(The entire section is 430 words.)