Perpetua

Olga Broumas, Author Copper Canyon Press $11 (96p) ISBN 978-1-55659-025-2
In her fourth collection, Broumas (Yale Younger Poets Award-winner Beginning with O) passionately invokes the redemptive forces of Eros to heal a world darkened by disease and oppression. In unabashedly erotic poems, her credo emerges: ``The text / of sex, word for word and by heart / divined, enacted / in the antechamber of the soul so kindly / also provided me, is my guide and prayer.'' The poet's Greek homeland lends mythic themes and shapely, light-filled images, as in ``On Earth,'' where she tells of the ritual exhumation of her father's bones with dignity, and in an evocative chapter entitled ``Lumens,'' touched by Sapphic utterances: ``I come from small seas littered with / Playful islands.'' More often, however, Broumas's poetic execution falls short of her conceptions. Too many poems are marred by a bewildering amalgam of images, awkward tropes or metaphors that drift toward the nonsensical: ``Like a pit in the fruit's ripe stomach, / encircled by airborne toxins clouding its permeable skin, / I am nourished, gratefully, / by the force of an unconditional / habit still linking life to the pulp of fruit.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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