Republican Like Me, his 1997 tale of his bid for the White House. Compiling a number of serial poems, this l"/>

YES, YOU ARE A REVOLUTIONARY!: Plus Seven Other Books

Sparrow, Author . Soft Skull $12 (200p) ISBN 978-1-887128-87-2

Sparrow's cult hero status was firmly cemented by Republican Like Me, his 1997 tale of his bid for the White House. Compiling a number of serial poems, this little red book brings together a diverse group of works that make the disruptive, utopian energy of the '60s seem perfectly contemporary. The title work provides, in 23 brief but comprehensive chapters, the steps to social upheaval, covering topics that range from selecting a "revolutionary pet" to a recipe for preparing "The People's Polenta." Other sections, such as "Jealous Cops," rely on an urban, universalizing wit that offhandedly acknowledges particularity: "The man next/ to me falls/ asleep,/ and his Greek/ newspaper hits/ the floor." The animating mystery throughout is at what points Sparrow is actually exhibiting wide-eyed naiveté and during which portions his tongue is planted firmly in cheek. Thus Sparrow's voice successfully links the different projects within the larger volume. The child-like playing around of "Dinosaur Haiku" produces such delight as "a pteranodon/ lands on a/ bleisafosaur," taking pleasure in names-as-complicated-sounds. "Cheering the Sphinx" uses similar logic to send up contemporary jingoism perfectly; it reads in its entirety: "Hooray, Sphinx! Go, Sphinx!/ Come on, Sphinx! Yes, Sphinx!/ We're with you, Sphinx! Yay,/ Sphinx! Go, Sphinx, go!" Even the New Yorker has found Sparrow's enthusiasm contagious and published several poems (Sparrow helpfully chronicles the process in "Two Poems of Mine the New Yorker Published"); look for this pocket-sized volume to turn up in the back of SUVs as often as at Washington Mall protests. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
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