New Long Poem Anthology -OS

Sharon Thesen, Editor Talon Books $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-88910-407-5
Working in the expansive formats of the long poem and poetic sequence, each of these 16 Canadian poets creates a Wordworthian autobiography of consciousness. Robin Blaser makes a single image--a moth--into an emblem of change in his own imagination and experience by placing that image in a series of contexts that shift over time. Blaser's moth enters his poem trapped in a piano in an ``unblossoming'' world, only to escape during spring, its liberation occasioning the ``intense, / interior monologue'' that constitutes the poem itself. Here as elsewhere the movement of the poetry is one of dilation. While for Christopher Dewdney this results in dense, prosaic lines--``Fireflies pinpoint cool luminous ideas in the neural foliage of dreams''--for Lola Lemire Tostevin it translates into single-word lines that carefully chart a foetus's development: ``brain / blooms / white / webs / hemmed / in / spheres.'' Thesen, a poet and critic, has collected poems that, whether stark or excessive, risk the tidy insights of the lyric for the shambling discoveries achieved through time and space--with satisfying results. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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