Candy Necklace

Cal Bedient, Author, Calvin Bedient, Author Wesleyan University Press $26 (104p) ISBN 978-0-8195-2234-4
Bedient writes with a painter's sensibility, the manifestations of which are threefold. One: splashes of color and references to art spring up in nearly every poem. Sometimes the effect is calming (""the only pink/ left by evening is the blush on a fishing boat""); but more often, the purpose is to alarm the reader, and when Bedient finds the right image to pair with a color, the work soars. ""You're the white of rolling horse eyes/ when the hay burns,"" he tells his about-to-be-married son. And, in a poem about child abuse, there is ""the color-sketch you showed her of the bomb/ you'd stitched into her sleeping heart."" Two: language assumes the malleability of paint. Bedient mixes words as he would acrylics. Nouns stand in for verbs. Objects and subjects blur (""A thing must country backwoods in itself""). Three: Bedient treats the page as a canvas. He writes with rich description and is especially apt at portraits of anger. While we don't necessarily get deep inside his thoughts, we nonetheless react to the intensity with which they are rendered. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997
Release date: 04/01/1997
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