Blood Work: Selected Prose

Ron Padgett, Author Bamberger Books $12 (104p) ISBN 978-0-917453-26-7
Natural heir to such founding New York School poets/art critics as Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery, Padgett ( Great Balls of Fire ) offers, in his first prose collection, pieces that span 25 years. Many cover territory familiar to his loyal following: his associations with artists (Fairfield Porter, George Schneeman, R. B. Kitaj) or his translations of such French surrealist writers as Apollinaire or Cendrars. Some essays seem as silly and simplistic as many of his poems do: casual, conversational, dropping the names of friends as one would when chatting with a third friend. Yet Padgett proves himself capable of great sensitivity in the title piece that closes the collection, a meditation on his dying father. An essay on what a foreign language offers readers, speakers and translators shows genuine erudition. And perhaps most impressive are the essays that loosely form a travel journal. Here the poet reveals an endearing earnestness: he searches for Pierre Reverdy's birthplace and tomb, and takes surreptitious photos of the poet's aged widow; he browses a Finnish bookshop and, spotting translations of American writers younger than himself, confesses: ``My heart sinks. My work and the work of my old friends are not here.'' (June)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
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