Tremblay's work has met with critical success since his debut book, Crying in the Cheap Seats (1971). "I've always regarded my work as a furnace in which to melt down the issues of our day and recast them into tools", says Tremblay. Here you will find a sampling of both of the critical reaction to Tremblay's work and his critical perspective in a number of reviews he has written about his contemporary poets.
An Interview with Bill Tremblay on Radical Poetry and the Art and Life of David Siqueiros
(by Douglas Valentine, counterpunch.org, August, 2013)
I’ve never read a book of poems like Magician’s Hat. It’s hard to put a label on it, although unique and ambitious and daring come to mind. So do the words pleasurable, highly entertaining, educational and worthy of emulation. Tremblay calls his poetry “concrete expressionism.” As theorized by Mark Edmundson in his recent article “Poetry Slam: Or, The decline of American verse” (Harpers, July 2013), poetry today has little relevance to social and political issues and prefers to reside in the inner lives of individual poets.
I promise you, Magicians Hat is relevant... more
The Weather of Memory
(review of Rainstorm Over the Alphabet: Poems 1990-2000)
THE SPOON RIVER Poetry Review
Bill Tremblay’s latest poetry collection, Rainstorm Over the Alphabet, gives readers a poet-speaker they can depend on to lead them on thoughtful, engaging journeys into personal and collective experiences — and always into the heart of the matter. Rendered in precise and eloquent language, the poems take as their subjects Tremblay’s impressions of his own life, from childhood through the very recent past, as well as his impressions of the lives of those he has encountered personally and as a student of history. Tremblay is not afraid to take on large, difficult themes... more
SHOOTING SCRIPT: Door of Fire
(a review by Frank Allen, American Book Review, July-August, 2004)
A stormy drama of betrayal, exile and love, Shooting Script: Door of Fire focuses on the tragically intertwined destinies of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Leon Trotsky. The “plot” covers the time between Leon Trotsky’s arrival in Mexico in January 1937 and his assassination in August 1940. The cast of historical characters (like one of Rivera’s crowded murals) includes Trotsky’s long-suffering wife, Natalia; their son, Lev Sedov, who dies “a naked frothing lunatic” in Paris; Ramon Mercader, the “naive idealist” who assassinated Trotsky; David Siqueiros, the leftist painter; Paulette Goddard, the movie star, “a small radiant woman in white;” Andre Breton, the French surreal poet... more