BLACK DOG SONGS

Lisa Jarnot, Author . Flood Editions $13 (72p) ISBN 978-0-9710059-9-0

Mantra and echolalia, playground rhymes, Gertrude Stein-esque repetitions and Blakean mysticism sit uneasily—and inspiringly—beside deep lyric purpose and antiwar protest in this exuberant third full collection. Jarnot (Ring of Fire ), whose biography of the charismatic California poet Robert Duncan will appear in 2005, splits the volume into four quasi-independent sequences. The first (not quite self-mockingly entitled "Early and Uncollected Poems") flourishes an array of comic moments: "Oh, Canada, you are melancholy today/ and so am I." "My Terrorist Notebook" comprises brief, often sarcastic political works, dedicated to (among others) Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush ("The chicken wing factory is lit up in flames"). A third sequence, "They," organizes a sort of fugue around the phrase "They loved," bringing in prose blocks and a deliberately frustrating sestina for cumulative elegiac effect, as if all that "they" loved would soon be lost. In the fourth and strongest sequence, "Black Dog Songs," quatrains and couplets based on Blake (and Edward Lear) strain to squeeze free of prose meaning: "the shift of stars in otter light,/ the twilight chicked limbs delight." Side by side with such incantations, however, quieter poems explore hopes and regrets: the subtle lyric called "Lisa Jarnot" surely deserves to end up in many anthologies. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 10/01/2003
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.