Further Adventures in Monochrome

John Yau, Author
John Yau. Copper Canyon (Consortium, dist.), $15 trade paper (174p) ISBN 978-1-55659-396-3
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-61932-042-0
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Built on the principle that poetry is servant to no organizing principle, Yau’s poems continue to agitate and explore identity and personal mythos by way of a mind that is beholden to nothing save its own wanderlust. His latest collection exhibits both delight and despair at never being able to affix to a thought for longer than a glimpse. “I do not speculate about ceaseless wonders,” writes Yau. “I go out and see if I might/ Find another remote and insubstantial form.” This duality, which allows Yau to be confessional while remaining veiled, is brilliantly investigated in “A Bungler Draped in Bangles Does Not a Burglar Make,” which reads like the state of the union by a man who can hardly face himself in the mirror: “Don’t ask me to tell you/ what I look like now./ I haven’t the foggiest idea/ what has happened to me.” If certain of Yau’s stabs at wordplay and humor smack of a juvenile giggle, it’s important to remember that flippancy and ridiculousness are deliberate modes. “All yours for only a fraction of a lifetime,” he writes, “And all along you thought I was a zombie making naughty noises at you.” (May)
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