In the Builded Place

Michael Heller, Author Coffee House Press $8.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-918273-58-1
Heller's ( Knowledge ) accomplished collection reveals a central preoccupation: desire for emotional experience cannot outweigh our fears of it. The formal and thematic tension here creates a nearly elegiac tone, a distilled recognition of the sacrifices life requires us to make: ``We, in our own way, of course, are dying, / But there are many ways to die, / To come back, to survive.'' Abstract ideas are juxtaposed with imagery of earth and sea, and nature becomes a symbol of human drama--passionate, unbridled. This signature struggle between thought and instinct crystallizes when Heller observes the incoming tide: ``Yet what if there is more of that wave in man / Than speech.'' And though pure feeling may not surface fully or frequently enough to infuse the poems with vitality, his ambivalence achieves undeniable poignancy. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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