The Great Wheel

Paul L. Mariani, Author
Paul L. Mariani, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-03921-4
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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In Mariani's ""great wheel,"" everything that goes around comes around. The spirits of Socrates and Serpico consort in a bar and the sensibility of New York can tell of both ""Danny Rossi's family grocery store"" and attic cenotaphs, the dual legacy of Mariani's Italian Catholic upbringing and his quarter century as an academic. To his credit, Mariani takes a natural pride in blending the elements of both; he shamelessly pens a cadence and imagery that signals much of his generation's influence: ""What is it we keeping thinking of? / Of the brilliance of some perfect noon,"" with its evocation of Crane and Stevens. It is not Mariani's intent to recast the modernist poetics, but rather to situate them in a larger sequence of time and his own biography. This book, learned, humble and not without its charms, has the feel of being a quiet satisfaction to the author, who has mastered for himself a poetic frieze of his canonical influences. (Apr.)
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