"The achievement of Approximate Desire is more than considerable; it is indispensable. These are poems of deep compassion and remarkable vision, and I was both haunted and sobered by the ways in which sorrow finds its equivalent in love, and vice versa. An original and fully engaging debut collection of the first order."
"Ty Cobb and Apollinaire fight it out on the basepaths--Thorburn's is an utterly solid use of baseball in poetry, he's devout about the Eurydicean grace of the game--baseball is a game about losing--and there's no awful tongue in cheek cuteness. Baseball is an art and its practitioners are smart peers to surrealist poets and famous painters. But in the best poem in the book, it's a poet alone who works it out with a city all around him, and loses, and loses his life into song."
"Russell Thorburn's remarkable visionary poems are an invitation to play life-and-death baseball with Ty Cobb and the Oaxaca Nine or maybe walk hand-in-hand with such luminaries as Einstein, Apollinaire, and Cocteau. Transcending time and space, these poems take my breath away. They emerge from the imagination and heart--astonishing in their brilliance, impeccable in their leaps of language, and utterly devastating in their inner truth."
"The poems in Russell Thorburn's Approximate Desire are full of lush precision and gentle grace. These poems travel far in place and time, displaying an astonishing range while grounding themselves in subtle, impressionistic landscapes. Cocteau, Apollinaire, Einstein, Ty Cobb--you never know who's going to show up, but it's clear that everyone is comfortable here on these pages. I love the quiet dignity of these poems. When I read this book, I felt someone's hand over my heart."