To Newfoundland: Poems

Caroline Knox, Author
Caroline Knox, Author University of Georgia Press $14.95 (55p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1115-9
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Crafted with extravagant imagination, the poems in Knox's ( The House Party ) second collection evade easy categorization. The poet's experiments include dramatically varying tones, forms (e.g., mini-parables/stories and anecdotes in prose) and time periods: she speaks in a dog's voice; imagines Lady Godiva's opinions on tax policy; and constructs a five-way conversation for Admiral Peary, the poet John Ashbery, herself, her husband and ``Millicent'' in response to Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. While Knox maintains energy and wit in these escapades, and seems to delight in the possibilities of language (e.g., ``Freudian shoes, the puddings of orthopedic flight / marginally confining doves of feet''), many veer from the sprightliness of an initial idea to arduously dense abstrusion. Knox's ``risks'' exclude more often than dazzle her readers; abstract and intellectual, loaded with allusions, the poems border on the bizarre. Although her work bears the mark of a rich and complicated mind, much here is concept only--not poetry. (Apr.)
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