Poems, 1963-1988

Bill Knott, Author
Bill Knott, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $10.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8229-5416-3
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
In this markedly original collection, a variety of themes remains constant--the pleasures and difficulties of love, the struggle for empathy with others--all seen through a distinctly elegiac eye. At the same time that he bows to the probability of loss, Knott's ( Becos ) primary concern is emotional engagement. With puissance, he urges the acceptance of the world as a fractured reality in which value is determined by individual perception: ``The way the world is not / Astonished at you / . . . Leads me to think / That beauty is natural, unremarkable, / And not to be spoken of / Except in the course of things /. . . And the course of course of me / Astonished at you / The way the world is not.'' Juxtaposed with poems of conventional lengths are various ``Shorts/Excerpts''--series of succinct but memorable sentences: ``Our farewells lack the plausibility of our departures.'' The consequent syncopation in the volume ultimately serves to emphasize the moments of clarity throughout. (June)
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