New Direction 54, an International Anthology of Prose and Poetry

J. Laughlin, Author, Griselda Ohannessian, With, Peter Glassgold, With New Directions Publishing Corporation $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1146-8
Representing the work of 24 authors--including New Directions publisher Laughlin--in several literary genres and from half a dozen countries, the latest in New Direction's annual anthologies ranges, for example, from the poetry of Bei Dao (Chinese) to that of Craig Raine (British). Drawing both on the celebrated and the unsung, it is somewhat erratic in quality. Among the best pieces is Judy Gahagan's short story ``Did Gustav Mahler Ski?,''6 the slope-side chronicle of an unwilling vacationer whose ``fear of skiing was made up of many tiny fears which clung around some central fear like wasps around a sticky jar.''11 In ``The Death of Anatoly Marchenko,''79 Anthony Tripi simultaneously evokes pathos and irony in telling, at great length, of a California bureaucrat whose job ultimately drives him crazy. By contrast, Bradford Morrow's ``A Bestiary''146 is brief and whimsical: the armadillo ``looks like the Michelin tire man, but without the smile and friendly waving hand.''146 But the melancholy trend of some stories is tiresome, as is experimentalism gone awry (Andrei Codrescu's ``Outings''162 ). Glassgold and Ohannessian are editor-in-chief and managing director, respectively, of New Directions. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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