Falling off the Bicycle Forever
Michael Rattee’s poems are like that of a body of still water, calm on the surface yet having great depth. Repeated readings always lead to new discoveries.
Through a brilliant understatement that goes beyond the need for punctuation, Michael Rattee's poems search out one vivid mask after another for the questing spirit who lurks behind his splendid talent.
Rattee knows that life is not devoid of whimsy. Chasing after a bus can seem like a karmic sentence, and a dream can be more real than the daily grind. There’s angst here too, for his personae are on the edge, the existential edge, afraid to be left behind, and aware of the inevitable failure of most of our hopes. This book is an important addition to our nation’s poetry of concern for all life.
.. it's startling how he gets it right in poem after poem. His neighbors are "standing in their backyards / holding martinis and garden hoses." His aunt "took a job as a widow for the money." At a family dinner you are "trying to find your way / out of a bad contract." He reminds us again and again of how poetry can illuminate our lives with the suddenness of a flashbulb, and the picture is not always pretty.
Review on Future Cycle website by Alan Catlin
"These finely wrought, deceptively simple-seeming poems continually impress the reader with their maturity, a maturity not only of voice but also of vision."
Review in New Pages by Caleb Tankersley
"... a smooth, two-wheel ride through your nearest suburban neighborhood; if you don’t pay close enough attention, you’ll miss the subtleties of this book’s sedentary life, the thick underlay of muck beneath the gilded exterior of the American Dream."
Review in the Tucson Weekly by Jarret Keene
"Rattee's understated, quietly powerful verse sneaks up on you like a pissed-off wolf in a high-minded poet's clothing."
Review on AuthorsDen website by Tomas O'Leary
"The poems assert themselves without fanfare, but usually towards a dead-on finale that alerts us to remember to remember."