WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE

Kim Addonizio, Author . Norton $21.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-393-05726-3

Unashamedly populist, and often charming, Addonizio's fourth book of verse explores the pleasures of sex, the pains of mourning, the efforts of raising a daughter and the difficulties of minor celebrity, setting all her musings and recollections in a style two parts confessional, one part stand-up comedy, and one part talking blues. Addonizio (Tell Me ) makes reference both to famous bluesmen (Robert Johnson) and to their repetition-based forms. The first two parts of this five-part collection repeat single subjects as well: first the erotic life (a "31-year-old lover" "stands naked in my bedroom and nothing/ has harmed him yet"), and then the dead ("no real grief left/ for the man who was my father"). Exploring "the way of the world—/ the sorrowful versus the happy," the rest of Addonizio's book takes up lighter, more varied subjects, often with a defter hand: "This Poem Wants to Be a Rock and Roll Song So Bad" self-mockingly "captures the essence of today's youth," while "This Poem Is in Recovery" promises "I'm not going to get drunk and take off my clothes/ to sign my book for you." One poem adapts a form from Billy Collins, another responds (by name) to Sharon Olds: others recall the candid representations of (for example) Molly Peacock. Addonizio's in-your-face persona and her avoidance of technical difficulty should help her attract the wide audience she explicitly invites. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-393-32709-0
Open Ebook - 128 pages - 978-0-393-34839-2
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