Way

Scalapino, Author, Leslie Scalapino, Author Green Integer $12 (148p) ISBN 978-0-86547-320-1
Comprising one long poem narrated in the first person, this volume, set in a bleak urban environment, conveys a sense of alienation and angst. Almost compulsively, Scalapino ( That They Were at the Beach , etc.) returns to the same characters and eventsdying ``bums,'' car crashes, surreal sexual encounterschanging the context in which they appear to create subtle variations on her themes. The constantly shifting imagery reflects both the author's fascination with language, and all of its permutations, and her reluctance to draw conclusions. Tentative, she frequently defines experience in terms of what it is not, finding a void, a lack: describing the sight of the dead bodies of several vagrants being thrown into the river, she writes: ``not being specialand/ the corpses that are put into the/ rivercoming there for burialthough we are not/ in that situationwould be/ in thatfloating there/ of our own culture/ when the actionwould/ not beof our own culture.'' Stylistically sparse, abstract and nonreferential, the poem is highly fragmented, enhancing the feeling of estrangement, as though the narrator were unable to complete a thought or communicate an idea. Unfortunately, readers may find this to be frustrating, as the images and events seem randomly associated and gain meaning only through repetition and modification. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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