Iris of Creation

Marvin Bell, Author Copper Canyon Press $17 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55659-031-3
Although Bell's ( New and Selected Poems ) style has evolved significantly since the publication of his first collection more than 20 years ago, his perverse manipulation of language to suit his g private vision has remained frustratingly constant. While the poet's unusual metaphorical connections and odd word juxtapositions are undeniably original, his reliance on such idiosyncratic associations leaves the reader feeling dismayed and disoriented. What is one to make, for example, of such images as ``human tongues rusting in fire'' and ``bread breaking in cracks cut by steam''? The verbal context is of no help in comprehending these expressions, because Bell rarely gives us a hint as to our thematic location. Occasionally, we do discern a definitive subject--the fall of Communism in ``Big Day in Santa Fe'' and the Alaskan oil spill in ``The Big Slick''--and we are relieved to be grounded in a clearly delineated topic. Overall, these poems are disconcertingly emotionless. Only when Bell deals straightforwardly with the subject of time and its effect on our thoughts and our lives in poems like ``A Man May Change,'' ``Victim of Himself'' and ``Ice'' does the reader feel an affinity with the experience of the poet. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 140 pages - 978-1-55659-032-0
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