Credence

Dennis Phillips, Author Sun & Moon $10.95 (90p) ISBN 978-1-55713-259-8
This self-reflective take on academic-ese puts prose poetry in the form of a mock expository essay, complete with endnotes, constant clarifications of terms and even endnotes to the endnotes. Phillips (Arena), however, belabors the point in too many sentences, highlighting the aridity and sweeping generalizations to be found in scholarly writing: ""The notion of metonym was absent from the minds of/ the marketers who devised adhesive price tags which/ could not be removed."" That such commentary appears with little or no context may be a gloss on a perceived collision between media sound bites and the gulf between meaning and expression, but explicit understanding is precluded by Phillips's refusal to drop the mask. The notes, some of which repeat sections of the ""main"" text verbatim, seem to ask us to see language as a sort of circular energy, affording a set of shifting forms and perspectives, some of which occasionally erupt into splendor: ""The wind behind the storm./ Nor gravel. So profuse. A prologue.// And then another thing takes over. Another tongue./ Concupiscent. On the wind. Aurora."" Such fragments may have an integrity or ""credence"" that exposes traditional narrative as a ruse, but as presented here, they make much unrewarded work for the reader. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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