Narcissus Dreaming: Poems

Dabney Stuart, Author Louisiana State University Press $14.95 (56p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1591-6
Many of the poems in this collection depict a kind of dream state that attempts to lead readers into the poet's fantasy world. In ``The Harpist's Dream,'' Stuart conjures a woman playing trees as if they were the strings of an instrument. In ``Hidden Meanings,'' he borrows from fairy tales; Rumplestiltskin appears along with Hansel and Jack of the beanstalk. Yet the poet's language is too plain and his ideas too superficial to give these poems any sort of chimerical resonance or fluidity: ``Both Hansel and Jack hated their mothers: / . . . Their fathers were troublesome, too.'' In the title poem, Narcissus breaks the spell of self-love, yet the poet does not probe the mythic and psychic implications of such an act; we learn only that he is ``bringing / his reflection off the water . . . taking it upon himself, / drenched, obscene / a perfectly imperfect fit, / leaving the water / imageless, opaque, / other.'' More successful are the pieces with concrete themes, particularly those about baseball. ``Swinging on the First Pitch'' and ``Umpire'' skillfully capture the tense, energized dynamic between pitcher and batter. Stuart ( Don't Look Back ) is editor of Shenandoah . (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 64 pages - 978-0-8071-1592-3
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