First Language

Edward Kleinschmidt, Author, Edward Kleinschmidt Mayes, Author University of Massachusetts Press $20 (80p) ISBN 978-0-87023-699-0
The poems in Kleinschmidt's ( Magnetism ) second collection appear novel at first glance, but through repetition come to seem formulaic and coy. ``In all / Problems there must be some connection,'' Kleinschmidt contends, in ``Some Problems with the Mind/Body Problem,'' and similar questions and pronouncements dog his mostly pedestrian oeuvre: ``About thinking: when a thought hits you, let it run, / Walk, crawl, stand still, be a thought, itself, whatever,'' he advises in ``Celebrating Thinking.'' Such prescriptive statements concern what is not , rather than what is , and the poet's persistence in perceiving all in a negative light brings on the superfluous gloom implied in a title such as `` `Nothing Is but What Is Not.' '' Surrealism redeems several poems, but when imagery releases readily identifiable emotion too quickly, it becomes horrific, as in ``Random Panic in the U.S.A.'': ``your mother had a black road / where her blood ran. / She gave you random / Thoughts in a basket / For your wedding.'' (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
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