Theater of Animals: Poems

Samn Stockwell, Author
Samn Stockwell, Author University of Illinois Press $12.95 (64p) ISBN 978-0-252-06476-0
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Selected for the National Poetry Series by Louise Gluck, Stockwell's first volume contains short poems that are neither objectionable nor memorable. The seven lines of ``Memorial for the Dead Brother'' end with the poet's aim ""to make real people of my family."" But little here bears the impact of the real. We are introduced to actors, goddesses, musicians and biblical figures, who carry as much emotional weight as a mother, a brother, a sister. The father (tyrant, berating his wife and children) comes closest to being a real presence for readers. Descriptions of lesbian couples seem superficial, as with a couple in a parking lot or, in ``At the Exhibit,'' an aunt who bakes bread as a Calder exhibit closes: ""I brought a young woman/ to dinner who lifts my face/ with kisses."" (Aug.)
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