The Southern Reaches

Sherod Santos, Author Wesleyan University Press $10.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1160-7
The poems in Santos's ( Accidental Weather ) strong second collection find their origins in many thingsa childhood vision of a girl on the stairs; a visit to a Paris natural history museumyet return to a single theme. Santos consistently bears witness to the ordinary and transforms it, celebrating ``the pure unburnished hum- /Drum of that moment.'' He is at his best describing unlikely or contradictory scenes: a woman undressing in a carnival tent crowded with men, then bending over, her face appearing between her legs ``puffed and up- / Ended through a shock of curls''; the desert landscape near nuclear test sites, where ``poison flowers / Flourish'' and the evening ``slow-dissolves / . . . like a Valium / Breaking up on the tongue.'' At times, the details are arbitrary, the language flat or the images of transformation forced. But when Santos's poems succeed, it is due to an uncanny delicacy of touch. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1989
Release date: 02/01/1989
Hardcover - 80 pages - 978-0-8195-2159-0
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