In Adam’s Ribs, Terry Adams makes a not-so-subtle claim to be the new American Adam. I’d say wholeheartedly that he succeeds. His voice is both gritty and dreamy, and it gets in your ear surreptitiously like the jazz he writes about so eloquently.
Terry Adams’s poems dazzle with their keen expressiveness and perfect lines. They do more than dazzle: they get inside you and stir the emotions by rendering his personal encounters with the living and the dying precisely, unsparingly, plainly, unmanipulatively.
Poems that etch themselves into our minds by virtue of their powerful and sometimes astonishing images, their often-risky subject matter, their angled approach, their tone of contemplation and yearning.
Terry Adams’s long-awaited debut book is a treasure trove of poems about family, motorcycles, Vietnam, the scrotum, Flash Gordon, jazz, the pink and yellow gills of a dead catfish—and just about everything under the Buckeye-and-Golden-State sun. His characters bump into one another or, more often, take leave of one another, and his narratives and incantations are charged with a wistfulness quite unique, given the current literary scene. If Adams risks sentiment, he is part of a long tradition of poets who have eschewed what could be called ‘university wit.’ …Adam’s Ribs resonates with free verse by Whitman, Bly, Dickey, James Wright—and a host of bards going back to the Old Testament patriarchs. This is one smackeroo of a book. For God’s sake, beg, borrow, or Steal it! Read it!