Cant Be Wrong

Michael Lally, Author Coffee House Press $11.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-56689-046-5
The title's broad statement might be questioned, but it can fairly be said of Lally that he can't be stopped. The rambling poems in his 22nd book (the first new collection since Attitude, in 1982) elevate the run-on sentence to new heights while incorporating a rather bland sense of phrasing and an occasional spasm of internal rhyme (""...we're nearing more lights she'll probably/ take flight and I can spend the rest of the night/ feeling vindicated...""). Most of the book recounts the author's days of growing up as a white New Jersey kid who befriends the black community and ultimately moves into the Greenwich Village scene. Sex, drugs and guilt ensue, at times breaking though the common language to enhance a tale of rescuing a lover or asking a daughter's forgiveness. The book concludes with a long poem, ""Where Do We Belong,"" in which Lally voyages to Ireland to discover his roots. Writing with a nostalgic sensibility totally unlike the recollective poems that precede it, he seems to leap from urban sin to auld lang syne in a heartbeat. It's a move his readers may not be prepared to match. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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