The City of Women: A Sequence of Poems and Prose

Sherod Santos, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (84p) ISBN 978-0-393-03475-2
Santos ( The Southern Reaches ) here makes sense of the vast canvas of remembered love, ``that time which in some ways / Does not exist, will not exist, the story of my life / In love, the buried life I know little about, / Perhaps know nothing at all.'' Although his subject is traditionally poetic, his poetic mode is not. An innovative poet-as-photographer, Santos intersperses prose narrative, metaphysical discourse, associative aphorisms and dramatic vignettes in the elliptical style of film clips. In an evocative manner, he explores the complex nature of erotic love, the rift between identity and union that love must straddle to survive. He rarely serves as arbitrator of eros; when he does, the poems weaken. Rather, he recommends humility--``Imagine, for a moment, that in matters of love everything we're told is a lie''--and the dizzying task of deciphering love's meaning is ultimately referred to the reader. Beautifully rendered vignettes--frames of the poet's parents sprawling in the German snow; a gold lame dress pulled from a champagne bottle--feature apocalyptic moments which transform our perspective on the nature of intimate relations. Santos's greatest accomplishment here is not that he provides answers for the unanswerable, but that he convinces readers that love creates ``words whose syllables we are laved in, / Whose meanings keep endlessly coming to pass.'' (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993
Release date: 05/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 94 pages - 978-0-393-31175-4
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