Leaving Another Kingdom: Selected Poems

Gerald Stern, Author
Gerald Stern, Author Harper Perennial $13 (246p) ISBN 978-0-06-096455-9
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
Lax editing in this hefty collection, whose entries span 15 years, obscures the poetic sensibility of an accom plished writer; a profusion of second- rate efforts clouds the exceptional works included here. Stern's (Love sick) 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 philoso phers, 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''--em pathetic forays into the contradictions within nature, art, the self, relation ships that are delicately sustained and beautifully nuanced. (Feb.)
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