Red Sauce, Whiskey, and Snow

August Klienzahler, Author, August Kleinzahler, Author
August Klienzahler, Author, August Kleinzahler, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $19 (93p) ISBN 978-0-374-28924-9
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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Kleinzahler's first major collection since Earthquake Weather (1989), which was nominated for an NBCC Award, is his first volume published by a trade press. One of the few contemporary poets clearly influenced by both the Ojectivist tradition and the more formal, academic poets, he combines a meticulous eye (``Peaches redden,/ and at day's end glow as if lit from within/ the way bronze does'') with surrealistic perception (objects moved to make room ``For the big white cloud spiring across the river''). Short lines and frequent stanza breaks make for quick movement through most of the poems, where all five senses are engaged by edgy rhythms and kinetic images: ``his pretty nerves bloom,/ a school of minnows just under the skin.'' In the estimable ``San Francisco/New York,'' the poet wanders San Francisco after a friend's departure, drawing readers into a used bookshop to smell the dried-out glue of each volume, and, outside, to see as if for the first time gabled roofs, the streetcar, the hills. Addicted to city life, Kleinzahler brings us the homeless, the alcoholic, the distraught. Although there are also enough failed poems--some mere exercises--to form a chapbook, the finest poems reward both first readings and later, closer attention. (Apr.)
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