Kisses

Steve Orlen, Author Miami University Press $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-881163-21-3
Even in the thick darkness of writing about the holocaust's legacies, Orlen (The Bridge of Sighs) shows musicality, warmth, humor and wisdom: ""I was trying to steal from Yeats, himself among/ The haters of Jews, and saw myself as far/ From the human race as that great dumb Golem/ Of a lobster crawling the mucky bottom on display./ I wanted to raise it from its briny stew/ And shake it in his face, and say,/ I'm not your Jew. I'm nobody's Jew."" Death, as a theme, is picked up and threaded throughout the book: people die at the hands of Nazis, serial killers, inattentive lifeguards, corrupt building inspectors or their own drug habits, culminating in ""Mr. & Mrs. Death,"" in which the poet contemplates the passing of his father and mother. Other poems strike a Freudian note on sexual themes, such as the poet's recollection of walking past a Parisian brothel with his son, who ""gapes like a turkey in an open field/ at the double barrels of a hunter's gun."" Orlen's free-verse style and varied stanza lengths ably hold his reader's attention while he wraps a winning earnestness inside all the laughs. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-1-881163-20-6
Paperback - 73 pages - 978-1-881163-23-7
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