Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum

Michael Waters, Author BOA Editions $12.5 (74p) ISBN 978-1-880238-43-1
Lots of sex, snapshots of the writer's life, and images of God as a human writer make up this poet's polished, narrow-in-range collection. From the title poem on, Waters (Bountiful) describes relationships with women in terms of sexual gratification, and often with a sense of loss that the pleasures he enjoyed with a particular lover are past ones. There are poems about having sex on the edge of a dam, having sex in the mud next to a lake and doing it in the sand. He offers an abundance of sexual references--""vulval thatch,"" semen-stained sheets, cucumbers--but does not convey a sense of engagement beyond the sexual. In ""God at Forty"" the poet pictures himself as God, steady and wise, living simply and counting syllables, remembering countless lovers who fixed fancy Thai meals for him and the ""wary angels""; but there's a leadenness to the humor that keeps this poem earthbound. Waters's eye for physical detail yields some treasures, as in the powerful austerity of leafless trees evoked in ""First Lesson: Winter Trees."" Yet even a poem about a painting of dead infants (""Chrisoms"") focuses on ""hibiscus-buds of penises,/ the creamy, vaginal erasures."" There are some poems about the poet's mother and father and one about James Brown at the Apollo, but little seems to capture and concentrate Waters's attention and considerable descriptive skills as do women in their role as sexual partner. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 03/01/1997
Hardcover - 78 pages - 978-1-880238-42-4
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