Stolen Car

James Haug, Author
James Haug, Author University of Massachusetts Press $10.95 (72p) ISBN 978-0-87023-670-9
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Although Haug avoids taking poetic risks, this is a strong debut collection, in which carefully crafted poems go beyond the disenchanted ``I'' of many young poets to court a respectable range of characters and landscapes. ``Night Swimmer'' observes that the space we inhabit is merely ``that architecture of chance''; we cannot escape despite our desire to break postmodern addictions. In ``White Dust,'' a woman tries to sweep the cement factory dust from her house, but futile attempts only add to her burden: ``a handful of sky, / plasters a whole new line of wash'' until finally ``the dust settles on the cramped earth / of her yard.'' Haug examines the smallness of the world and its immense power over us with compassion yet skepticism; those who rent, borrow and steal are themselves, he believes, ``rented'' or abandoned. But there remain air, light, ``the absent / place where music goes, distances''--invisible forces that offer the hope of enduring or transcending mere chance and accident. (June)
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