Arreboles

Boyer Rickel, Author Wesleyan University Press $12.95 (64p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1199-7
This first collection is infused with bland nostalgic longing for the comforts of childhood and the refuge provided by former romantic relationships. In ``Two Childhood Songs,'' Rickel tackles McCarthyism and his brother's polio with wide-eyed mystification, ending with the lines, ``I hardly knew I'd been born. / The world was one block long.'' Poems about love are like watercolors, dreamy and two-dimensional, with atmosphere taking precedence over feeling: ``The first night / we talked seriously, it was winter. We sat / before a fire that threw / red and yellow slivers / across our shirts and faces.'' Later, rather offhandedly, the poet tells us the subject of the lovers' discussion: ``No, he said, he was not ready yet / to care for anyone.'' Rickel, unwilling to probe his own heart, asks the reader to put his experience in perspective: ``What's at the end of what we cannot know? / What's in the middle of the road?'' The poems in which the poet achieves an effective balance between mood and feeling are those about AIDS. In ``Night Sweats 2'' and ``Poem to Begin the Second Decade of AIDS,'' the detached style gives these pieces an appropriately elegiac air. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Hardcover - 64 pages - 978-0-8195-2197-2
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