Transparent Gestures

Rodney Jones, Author Mariner Books $10.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-395-51063-6
In long, rambling stanzas, the speakers in these poems tackle complex philosophical issues, often with startling imagery: ``When coyotes hunt, they come as a clean silence / comes to a text.'' With extreme sensitivity, Jones ( The Unborn ) contrasts the Old South--its religion, its slavery--with the New South of the adult personae here. In one moving passage, grandparents sit at a table saying grace while a grandson worships the potato pie: ``The sweeter the pie, the shorter the prayer.'' Poems about childhood are especially forceful, offering almost erotic insights into the boy-into-man cycle. Pubescents ``endure the first hormonal surge'' at the same time that ``they still harbor toys: stuffed animals forgetting / their names, incomplete sets, trucks with broken grilles''; the body of the first girl whom the narrator sees without clothes is confused with a relative's corpse: ``I grieved them both and loved steadily as I grieved.'' Jones's poems cannot be absorbed in a single reading, but amply reward prolonged scrutiny. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 68 pages - 978-0-395-51062-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1134-5
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