cover image Contact Highs: Selected Poems, 1957-1987

Contact Highs: Selected Poems, 1957-1987

Alan Ansen. Dalkey Archive Press, $19.95 (213pp) ISBN 978-0-916583-44-6

This collection, gathering 30 years of work by American expatriate Ansen ( Disorderly Houses ), careens in voice from a tone of bravado--an unwavering insistence on seeing the universe in all its mockery and injustice--to one of unabashed tenderness. And such conflict implies the poetry's central tension: a desire to be immersed in life's drama, rather than merely to judge it. Ansen, who has lived in Greece for the past 25 years, is a vivid creator of worlds with words, but never too sober in his verbal wizardry. Sly and wild in the manner of Gregory Corso or Allen Ginsberg, the poet marries exultant anarchy to traditional forms. Dismissing ``shameless lyrists'' who ``warble their hearts' content,''sic, 95 like an ``eerie oddity'' Ansen ``retails his uniqueness'' with some bitterness but more brio, and many readers will be grateful. (Nov.)