V. Imp.

Nada Gordon, Author . Faux Press $13.95 (108p) ISBN 978-0-9710371-9-9

"In an exposed position with little chance/ of retreat, the ponies' best defense is nakedness and lightsome lyric," writes Gordon in "Paeonies," a spirited, strident paean to being spirited and strident. With her "balladry/ for the stubbornly liminal" and goof-grinned reaching for high-sounding diction, Gordon's vatic speaker can take in parables (the foreword is titled "The End of Greed, Imperialism, Opportunism and Terrorism"), language salads that urge readers to "rise up and abandon the spurious contrivance," and satirically theorized self-deprecatory incantations: "come here, i want// to alienate you. dyssemia / the volatile prosody i auto-eroticize..." If the existential reductio-ad-absurdum can grate, the sincerity of Gordon's never-quite-named frustrations comes through in her cries of a bodily, even orgiastic, poetry, reading at times like the Beckett of "Whoroscope" on a day trip to the Haight-Ashbury of yore: "Sure, all's dire, / but look! What comes out! Dark as grapes / but sounding, hot—hot—persisting in wanting / to be wanted. Then I get so enlarged—/ with the writing: it is wrong. So but anyway/ the moment is red duress in bad fire." The result is outrageously ludic, like Elizabeth Taylor lurching through a Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf monologue loaded with sheer energy and disappointment. When she's on, this punk priestess travels through a gaudy, impish, vampy, very important hyperreality. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/19/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
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