“Braden weaves a graceful and philosophical web in which the ineffable and the inevitable are fatally connected. Say desire is the presence of absent reality, then beauty becomes the absence, orbed here by a sequence of sonnets, a sequence of taboos so compelling that a reader cannot help but be seduced by the brilliant symmetry, the Keatsian capability of this poet’s meditation.”
—Sandra Alcosser, author of Except by Nature
“Mr. Braden’s newest collection of poems, A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood, aspires toward an intellectual coherence unique among contemporary poetry . . . The poet’s aspiration to produce a unified book of poetry, rather than a fragmented redaction of poems, is truly admirable. For this reason, Braden’s poetry stands as a refreshing (and rewarding) contrast to the dominant tendencies of contemporary lyric poetry.”
"Braden may flaunt his poetic tricks, yet he is equally comfortable within the narrative moment's realism. Reading him is akin to knowing a magician's method while still being pleasantly surprised by the beauty of his results."
—Nick Ripatrazone, Prairie Schooner
Returning to variations of a sonnet titled “Taboo against the Word Beauty,” Braden relentlessly pursues the possibility of naming the beautiful without ignoring what has so often and so widely been destroyed by human hands.
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