Satin Street

Merrill Gilfillan, Author Moyer Bell $12.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-55921-182-6
More about the natural world than the urban reality suggested by the title, these poems by a fiction writer (Sworn Before Cranes) and essayist (Magpie Rising) offer nearly visual honor to the landscapes of the Plains. The strongest poems feature a solitary, omniscient observer responding to the sky and land in Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota. Details set off personal associations: ""we look at the winterberry, sole color/ of the January worth it, dry scorched red/ like a crimson peppercorn on the mud-dark twig/ and think, together, ocotillo/ in bloom..."" Most poems employ a spare and beautiful imagery characteristic of Chinese or Japanese nature poetry: ""JULY// That new early light in the trees--familiar face of a stranger, strange/ look on the thin friend--it burnishes/ the fuselage as all the leaves/ show their light sides with something/ like a roar: Now here is a sunrise/ they will speak of many centuries/ down the line."" A lengthy prose poem, ""Mouth of the Whosis,"" dedicated to Ted Berrigan, mixes glimpses of character and place and time in a cross-country collage. Deceptively simple, these poems reveal new beauties with each reading. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 71 pages - 978-1-55921-181-9
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