The Emerald City of Las Vegas

Diane Wakoski, Author
Diane Wakoski, Author Black Sparrow Press $15.95 (202p) ISBN 978-0-87685-971-1
Reviewed on: 07/31/1995
Release date: 08/01/1995
Hardcover - 202 pages - 978-0-87685-972-8
Hardcover - 200 pages - 978-0-87685-973-5
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Wakoski (Inside the Blood Factory), approaching 60, inspects her changing body and does not flinch. She continues to forgo the complex imagery of her earlier work in favor of a conversational, confessional style. In this, the third volume in her The Archaeology of Movies and Books series, she seeks a way for a personal mythology to make sense of fractured, postmodern America. In ``Looking for Beethoven in Las Vegas,'' she writes: ``Driving West,/ old, enlightened,/ I still cannot fold up those/ maps of lost goldmines,/ abandoned trunks full of diamonds,/ of new countries and other planets.'' Nevertheless, the spiritual locale of these poems is the anti-Oz--no place for Dorothy or illusions about one's self. Into her reflections as a ``regular'' in Las Vegas, Wakoski weaves quotes from Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, Nick Herbert's Quantum Reality and other snatches of text. The result is a close look at the poet's own inner conversation about what it means to be a woman, to be no longer young, to be a poet. Her presence in the best of these poems allows us to ask, with her: ``what/ does it mean to/ control the images/ in your life,'' when those images are often disturbing or incoherent. (Aug.)