Little-Known Sports

Vern Rutsala, Author University of Massachusetts Press $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87023-917-5
This sequence of prose poems, Rutsala's first book since Collected Poems (1991), and a recipient of the Juniper Prize, concerns itself with defining and redefining worldly objects and actions. Subjects range from emotions, in the opening sequence, to a dust mop as interpreted by an anthropological eye in the section titled ``Bestiary.'' The general danger of Rutsala's impulse to define and redefine is its propensity to turn a writer into a candidate for the mantle of a second-rate Bishop. For example, the wry didacticism of his first-person-plural poems can come across sometimes as distant, as in the one-line poem ``Paperclip'': ``We persist in baiting this dull hook with page after page, yet we catch nothing.'' He sometimes makes the mistake of assuming that readers share his prejudices. Thus, his attempts to ingratiate may flop, especially when he adopts the cliched pose of the artist who disdains the powerful: the politician, ``the editor, dean, chairman, provost.'' But Rutsala's precision and humor sporadically redeem his work. Articulate, comprehensive, evocative poems, informed by a weird imagination, demonstrate that beneath the pretense and the conspiratorial wink, poetry emerges. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.