Scenarios for a Mixed Landscape

John Allman, Author New Directions Publishing Corporation $7.95 (68p) ISBN 978-0-8112-0989-2
Twentieth century history as embodied in the lives of two dozen great men and women was the subject of Allman's 1985 volume of narrative verse, Clio's Children: Dostoevsky at Semonyov Square and Other Poems. While historical consciousness is a major element in the success of this book of lyrics, Allman's new perspective owes more to the scientist than to the chronicler of events. Behind every poem in this collection is the questing mind of modern man, who sees the two great events of cosmic history as the big bang and the evolution of Homo sapiens, and is obsessed with discovering the connection between the two. Though many of the poems touch on scientific topics""The Birth of Time,'' ``On Fragments of a Boskop Skull,'' ``Cloning,'' ``Ode to the Standard Candle''Allman's finest effects are achieved by poetic inferences from vivid and lifelike descriptions. Happily, while Allman seemed hamstrung and earthbound by the complex narrative framework of Clio's Children, the lyric mode proves him to be a poet of rare expansive and imaginative gifts. (September)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
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