The Insomniac Liar of Topo

Norman Dubie, Author . Copper Canyon $16 (83p) ISBN 978-1-55659-263-8

Wild with righteous anger and dreamlike invention that can border on randomness, the prolific Dubie maintains his neo-Surrealist niche with this 25th book. Many of the poems protest, and parody, the violence in Iraq; others search (or perhaps parody) a multicultural panoply of religions for a godhead in which to believe. The first long sequence juxtaposes the “Black Madonna” (a Catholic icon from Poland) with the “labyrinths” of Egyptian tombs where “the high priest, Mythic Destraktus, is now drinking/ the pod-water of immortality again.” A later lyric, as angry as it is absurd, concludes with a view of dead children “washed/ of the blood/ of baby Jesus, naked, on pine tables with kerosene.” William Blake, UFO cults and Queen “Elizabeth with her Privy Council” also put in appearances, as fast-moving free verse lines and broken-up stanzas help Dubie (Groom Falconer ) seek a language that can include all he feels. At best, Dubie achieves a desert equivalent of the backwoods dream-vision poetry of Frank Stanford. Often, though, the lines seem rushed and sloppy, the poet inattentive to how he sounds—if only because, overwhelmed by vivid ideas, he finds himself in quite a hurry to record each vision before its successor arrives. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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