Belligerence

Andrei Codrescu, Author Coffee House Press $8.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-918273-85-7
In this extraordinarily inaccessible volume, Codrescu has parlayed an intensely private vision into poetry that stubbornly refuses to enthrall or enlighten. The poet's attention often shifts between unrelated ideas, ensuring the reader's constant disorientation. The opening line of the title poem is an example: spellings are ok/pk ``In the irruptive mode / I wear no hat / & hate what I see / in the rearview mirror / except silver balls.'' These poems comment on the ills of our society, from the banality of the bourgeoisie to the fascistic tendencies of a patriarchal political system. The Romanian poet is concerned with the struggle between morality and power: ``We must defend / the integrity/ of our organism / by means of morality. / But in Civilization / we confuse / the aims of Power / with the aims of our integrity.'' One of his most pressing gripes is the relegation of literature to the backseat of contemporary culture: ``The power now controlling / the traffic between / reality and symbols / is journalism. / When poetry was in charge we / saw more reality.'' Codrescu ( Comrade Past & Mister Pres ent ) believes that poetry provides a bridge between words and sense. If only that were the case here. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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