Between the Chains

Turner Cassity, Author University of Chicago Press $30 (91p) ISBN 978-0-226-09616-2
In the poem ``Bank Notes,'' Cassity ( Hurricane Lamp ) takes as his subject the Banque de l'Indo Chine, proceeding, for 57 lines, to detail its economic and political significance, bewildering the reader with many abstruse allusions. Unfortunately, Cassity's imagery and syntax only serve to cause further confusion. His poems are chockful of esoteric ideas and facts that display the extent of his erudition but leave the reader wondering about their aesthetic virtue. Among the poet's fields of expertise are the sex lives of various composers--regarding Schumann he writes, ``Of his contemporaries, he alone / (You may add Wagner) missed out syphilisstet ''--and the anatomy of ``Moon Vehicles'' and how they resemble sewing machines--``a bobbin (no, / Not Yeats's; Singer's), eyes of steel, / Iron `limbs,' an oblong treadle placed /However.'' Cassity's vocabulary is large as well, but his language rarely stimulates, and he has no use for showing his true feelings. As he tells us in the collection's final poem, his is a ``heart of stone'' that rarely stops for even a ``casual admission of wreck.'' (June)
Reviewed on: 06/17/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 91 pages - 978-0-226-09617-9
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