This Particular Eternity is Orlen’s fifth book, and it confirms his reputation as one of our most daring and straight-talking poets. Unpretentious, frontal, darkly funny, he tackles tough subjects, but views them though a sensibility as sweet-tempered and hopeful as it is unflinching. Orlen’s primary subject, which he visits and revisits throughout all of his books, is the formation and reformation of the soul: its curiosities, passions, vulnerabilities, and capacity for growth.
“The poems in This Particular Eternity are beautifully articulated, often profound, and certainly moving at times, invested with emotion that has been honestly and inevitably earned. This is practically assured by Orlen’s rigorous injunction to himself not to sentimentalize the past, yet to record and honor those aspects of it which deserve honoring.” —Marlboro Review
“Keen in their social observation, at times bluntly personal, full of slow builds and quick stabs, these poems are rich in what Jarrell called ‘the ordinariness of life; where people go; what people do; the ways of life.’ Their real subject is the education-in-progress of the soul, always a stranger, and the bemused, inquiring witness of narration itself… Anyone who believes, in this era of the fragment, that the discursive narrative American poem is linear or simplistic or exhausted, should try these poems. At his best, Orlen is the equal of anyone writing.” —Tony Hoagland