American Gothic: Poems

Jonathan Holden, Author University of Georgia Press $0 (65p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1408-2
The epigraph to the first portion of this volume is the definition of Gothicism given by Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary , the first characteristic of which is ``Rudeness; inelegance or an instance of it.'' Holden ( Against Paradise ) is clearly interested in that aspect of American culture, and the subjects of his poems include Grant Wood's portrait, landscape viewed from the highway and the band recital at an elementary school that presented ``something so stubborn / that no matter how grossly / they farted on it, / was going to play itself anyway / through them.'' The sensibility here is rather coarse, always inelegant. Technically the poems fall in long columns of plain, free verse. They show the influence of Richard Hugo, who is referred to affectionately in the text, but are not graced by his wit. In several instances the narrative turns to the subject of money and greed. ``The Parable of the Snowman'' compares the reinvestment of capital to making a snowball: itals in text/pk ``Push hard, and you can have the things you want. '' Likewise, ``The Crash'' is a parody of the life of a stockbroker. Unfortunately, Holden is unable to penetrate beyond the stereotype. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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