Imperfect Thirst

Galway Kinnell, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (81p) ISBN 978-0-395-71089-0
Kinnell (When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone) launches his 12th book of poetry with a witty poem dedicated to ``The Pen''-a pen which, ``like the person who gets out of the truck, goes/ around to the rear, signals to the driver, and calls, `C'mon/ back.'"" After that beginning, nearly anyone would follow this writer into the past to his quiet father who ``bent down out of the gloom like a god,'' and later, in another poem, step happily into an imagined future near ``the idea of paradise.'' Kinnell's breadth in the volume astonishes: poems range from an expression of poetic resistance to the fashionable scholarly disinterment of language in ``The Deconstruction of Emily Dickinson,'' to the delicate tableau he creates of a woman caring for her father in ``Parkinson's Disease,'' to his gleefully erudite tribute to excrement in ``Holy Shit.'' Primal themes-love, nature, mortality-emerge in newly compelling forms. In ``Rapture,'' for example, conventional poetic language is abandoned for sensuality's purer rhythms: ``Simile is useless.'' Though at times Kinnell's remarks to himself seem needlessly self-referential, when the poet speaks intimately to us, his voice is unsurpassable. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-0-395-75528-0
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-0-547-34830-8
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