New and Selected Poems 1963-93

Ron Padgett, Author David R. Godine Publisher $14.95 (120p) ISBN 978-1-56792-038-3
Like a bicycle messenger on the streets of Manhattan, Padgett (The Big Something) relies on sharp turns, attitude and an unfailing sense of balance rests on a keen awareness of mortality. Here, this veteran of the New York poetry scene delivers three decades' worth of work that includes heartbreakingly simple love poems, fantasia in which the living turn into music and wacky meditations on everything from English etymology to chocolate milk. Several pieces are what the Beats sometimes refer to as ``shots,'' single-minded poems of a single stanza that hit you like two fingers of tequila. Others, including ``Wilson '57,'' a tour of a high-school yearbook, and ``The Music Lesson,'' a hilarious narrative that deals with Mozart and the space-time continuum, ramble on for pages, refusing to shut up. Images veer off in every direction and themes go adrift in streams of consciousness, but the results never fail to excite, as Padgett bends to various purposes observation and language--in his words: ``like ha and ah reversed,/ it was symmetry.'' (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/1995
Release date: 12/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
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