Shadowing the Ground

David Ignatow, Author Wesleyan University Press $14.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1197-3
In a voice that is by turns resigned, bitter, anguished and accepting, Ignatow ( Rescue the Dead ) confronts the hugeness of his inevitable death, using poetry as a way to wrestle with the riddle of mortality. In old age, the poet feels ``alone, / for with love and command gone we are directed / toward ourselves, and alone now we are lonely with everyone.'' A form of death itself, this aloneness is relieved, strangely enough, by ``the thought of dying.'' For the poet, now in his late 70s, beauty is both an ameliorating force--providing him with the means for aesthetic and spiritual transcendence--and a painful reminder of ``the life that escapes me.'' Ignatow's quiet, contemplative tone lulls the reader with its sad sagacity. His words, however tremulous with feeling they may be, have been chosen with economy and care, expressing with the utmost bravery and honesty a range of emotions from exhilaration to despair. The poet can ultimately offer no definitive answers to his puzzled questions about the meaning of existence, living instead with his ``contradictions / intact,'' looking ``out upon the dark, knowing / death as one form of transcendence, but / so is life.'' (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 80 pages - 978-0-8195-2195-8
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