God Hunger

Michael Ryan, Author Viking Books $17.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-670-82498-4
Ryan's disarming voice in his third poetry collection (after In Winter and Threats Instead of Trees ) is a quietly intimate one: ``I think of myself as dust of bones / mornings when I awake / to find the fine white ash / lining the bottom of my box stove.'' Revelations like these occur at odd, unexpected moments--as the poet tends a bird that flies down the chimney into his wood stove, or contemplates a newspaper clipping about a prison marriage, or watches Bertolucci's film 1900 , or recalls an incident from his oppressive childhood. There are occasional pieces (``Meeting Cheever,'' ``A Buglary''), a villanelle, free-form verses and metrical quatrains tinged with the wistful irony of W. D. Snodgrass. With almost reportorial detachment, Ryan meditates on a friend's suicide, the Holocaust, severely injured children in a hospice. Nearly all of the poems are marked by the control of a meticulous craftsman seeking transcendent meanings in ordinary events. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
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