Leaving Another Kingdom: Selected Poems

Gera Stern, Author, Gerald Stern, Author
Gera Stern, Author, Gerald Stern, Author HarperCollins Publishers $19.95 (246p) ISBN 978-0-06-055187-2
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Lax editing of this hefty collection, whose entries span 15 years, obscures the poetic sensibility of an accomplished writer; a profusion of second-rate efforts clouds the exceptional works included here. Stern's ( Lovesick ) candor fizzles into coziness (``I love the cows best when they are a few feet away'' in ``Cow Worship''; ``I love the sight of me / rolled over on the ground'' in ``Song''; ``I sat on my porch trying to make up my mind / about the Pablo Picasso I love the most'' in ``The Picasso Poem''; ``I still love Schubert /most of all'' in ``Stopping Schubert''). The density of allusions to philosophers, artists and other poets creates a rarefied, even clubby tone. Readers undeterred by the lack of pruning, however, will be rewarded by poems like ``Another Insane Devotion''--empathetic forays into the contradictions within nature, art, the self, relationships that are delicately sustained and beautifully nuanced. (Feb.)
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