The Six-Cornered Snowflake and Other Poems

John Frederick Nims, Author New Directions Publishing Corporation $14.95 (58p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1143-7
In the poem ``Poetry Workshop (First Semester),'' Nims ( The Kiss: A Jambalaya) advises students that ``Words should be lithe and lean, compact as muscles,'' a surprising statement from a poet who fills his own work with fatty, gratuitously abstruse terms and metaphors, as if to let the reader know how large his knowledge is. Poems like ``Keeping Change'' and ``Trick or Treat'' belabor the inconsequential themes introduced by their titles. Those that address the broader subjects of love and language extrude needless vocabulary words and information about subjects only remotely related to his main theme. In the 12-part title poem--each part graphically shaped like a six-cornered snowflake--the astronomer Johannes Kepler is the poet's alter ego, ``all bemused by signatures of something from above: the daedal snowflake crystaling in six.'' As he proceeds through the poem, Nims introduces scientific concepts, science and its use as a way of explaining the processes of nature being integral to his poetry. Yet instead of enhancing the quality of his imagery, these references weigh the poems down. Included in this volume is an afterword on form and formalism. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Paperback - 58 pages - 978-0-8112-1144-4
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