All of the Above

Dorothy Barresi, Author, Olga Broumas, Introduction by Beacon Press (MA) $15 (108p) ISBN 978-0-8070-6815-1
This collection gives new breadth and meaning to the familiar cliche of its title. Newcomer Barresi's all-inclusive, unadulterated vision embraces popular culture, personal experience and historical events. Her poems are a subtle chronicle of American life and its immigrant underpinnings over the past several decades, from the 1950s, ``the refrigerator . . . so turquoise it hurts,'' through the ``smug, bankable eighties.'' The characters who populate these poems range from a young car salesman in ``eel-skin cowboy boots'' to a Mexican mother ``dangling a child by his ankles, headfirst / into the garbage dumpster . . . '' as the poet sets out to explore the ``work of this world.'' It's easy to get caught up in Barresi's energetic rush of language and to accept as wildly inventive her often unlikely metaphors and rash imaginative leaps. While the result is, for the most part, compelling and convincing, this unrestrained impulse leads too frequently to imprecise imagery and sweeping philosophical pronouncements that awkwardly state the obvious (``What we do to stay alive / is different from what we are''). Broumas is the author of Pastoral Jazz. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Hardcover - 75 pages - 978-0-8070-6814-4
Ebook - 90 pages - 978-0-8070-6836-6
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