An IRA Sadoff Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose

Ira Sadoff, Author University Press of New England $18.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-87451-593-0
While the poetry included here has been chosen from previous collections, the stories and essays appear in book form for the first time. Instead of enlarging the reader's understanding of Sadoff's ( Emotional Traffic ) scope, however, this volume accentuates his weaknesses. The poems are shallowly surrealistic, the fiction a bit more substantial. Most stories center on family matters (incest, a father without his children), and all concern isolation: two 15-year-old girls shut out their parents, a man is unable to relate to his mother and sister, who are embroiled in a love/hate relationship. Verging on the experimental, many stories present static characters; other appear to show movement, then become almost farcical at the end. The essays provide insight into the problem with Sadoff's writing: an inability to sustain his focus. He begins with a large issue--such as what constitutes meditative poetry--then loses sight of his premise by concentrating on examples, never returning to make his point. More disturbingly, one gleans that such a brief attention span is intentional. Writers, he claims, ``need to attend to the dangers of limiting their sensibilities, their points of view, their stances toward a subject, toward experience.'' (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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