Transit Authority: Poems

Tony Sanders, Author
Tony Sanders, Author Grove Press $13 (96p) ISBN 978-0-8021-3677-0
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""How much longer can time go on twiddling its thumbs as it sits in the waiting room of a bus depot/ not far from the terminal lunch counter where two cascades of grape punch splash in perpetuity."" In their mild invocations of John Ashbery's ""How Much Longer Can I Inhabit the Divine Sepulchre,"" these two lines epitomize the breathless drive toward fulsomeness that stands in, throughout Sanders's second collection, for New York School-style serendipity and astonishment. Following the similar cityscapes of Partial Eclipse (1994), the book's 38 long-lined poems offer a plethora of well-turned phrasal descriptions--""more familiar songs in the guests' minds because of chardonnay""--embedded in meditations on places and ideas about them. At the center are 14 poems based on Berenice Abbott's WPA-era photos of a Changing New York (as a terrific recent book collecting them is titled) that contemplate her ""Hell Gate Bridge,"" ""Peerless Equipment Co."" and ""Minetta Street, Nos. 2, 4, 6: 1935,"" among others. But throughout, Sanders's enthusiastic tone too often shades into blandly riveted effusions. And when encountering, in the book's second poem, lines like ""It was as though the very day itself were wearing a see-through blouse weeks before a mastectomy,/ something in the air wanting desperately to draw attention to itself if only to assuage its awkwardness,"" it is difficult to see a point in continuing on. (Apr.)
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