A Point is That Which Has No Part

Liz Waldner, Author University of Iowa Press $16 (88p) ISBN 978-0-87745-702-2
From brief sarcastic couplets to dense, lush blocks of prose, Waldner's debut mixes sassiness, smarts and lyricism, intellectual querulousness with personal bitterness, vigor and exasperation. The prose poems here take up about half the volume, and demand to be read slowly; nearly every sentence pivots on some pun, accidental resemblance or double entendre. Brand names, ""credit cards,"" WordPerfect error boxes (""Insufficient File Handles"") collide with piles of quotes from canonical writers: Aquinas, Aeneas, Wallace Stevens, ""that unearthly Aqua Velva color,"" As the World Turns. Sometimes the prose poems degenerate into echolalia: ""The river Lysander. Today's a meander. Terrible weather for the day-after: dank, grey, danker, fear you'll go away."" But elsewhere they are genuinely alert to common falsehoods and hidden truths: ""it's true I am in love with your friend and not you? He got his body in first./ Some juice (I quote what I wrote at 16) is glue."" Most of Waldner's lineated poems come out far sparer, suggesting the learned confidence of Heather McHugh. Each of the book's six parts comes with a title (""Point,"" ""Circle"") and epigraph from geometry and natural philosophy. But Waldner's metalinguistic obsessions, tics and jazzy contemporaneity do not prevent her from seeing a real world with people in it, making this debut worth seeking out. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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.