Gaps and Verges

Roald Hoffmann, Author University Press of Florida $19.95 (88p) ISBN 978-0-8130-0943-8
A Nobel Prize-winning chemist and Cornell professor, Hoffmann writes poems fusing a scientist's predilection for precise observation with a poet's lyrical, transformative vision (``Coral outcrops . . . an empress angel fish darts off--reef reflexes meet the finned intruder in this underwater Gaudi cathedral''). Yet the pineal gland, gulls diving for jellyfish and the traumatic infancy of cute-looking koalas do not delimit his poetic concerns. There are searing autobiographical pieces tracing his childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland (he emigrated to the U.S. in 1949) and his relationship with his stepfather in New York. ``In Need of Mending,'' ostensibly about fences, maps the geometry of friendship and hostility. ``Opening a Drawer,'' an apt, humorous meditation on folding shirts, is fundamentally a tender love poem. Despite its share of pretentious or pedantic misfires, this is an impressive collection of serendipitous rewards. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
Paperback - 88 pages - 978-0-8130-0954-4
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