The Public Mirror

Richard Katrovas, Author Wesleyan University Press $12.95 (63p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1170-6
Katrovas's ( Snug Harbor ) characteristic tautness of language and lyrical intensity slacken here, but his singular voice and unvarnished vision remain constant and convincing. Once again, the streets of New Orleans--where to live ``is to reconsider, / daily . . . / the crumbling communities of dead / the holiness of closure''--provide a fitting backdrop for the poet's concerns, the ghosts of his own past as well as the city's nocturnal figures: waiters in gaudy dives; a ``brilliant, illiterate neighbor, / who seems never to sleep,''; and drag queens ``who mope from bars . . . / to greet with clicking heels the light that saddens them.'' It is in the ``horror / of the light,'' the poet suggests, that we see ourselves for who we really are, as in the title poem where he remembers himself as a child ``before the public mirror . . . / a hair more than nothing, / whom I could destroy simply by closing my eyes.'' In the ideal life, says Katrovas, ``there are no mirrors,'' and perhaps there should be fewer in these poems--the repetitive, forced mirror imagery undermines the book's edge and urgency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Hardcover - 63 pages - 978-0-8195-2165-1
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