City of Corners

John Godfrey, Author . Wave $14 (95p) ISBN 978-1-933517-31-5

Godfrey's jumpy, sometimes disjointed poems belong to an exciting recent tradition: they describe day-to-day, block-to-block, moment-to-moment life in the downtown Bohemia of New York, as Ted Berrigan (among others) did in the 1960s and 1970s. In short lines and disconnected phrases, Godfrey considers the ups and downs of sexual attraction (“Wind tunnels as sun lowers/ Hard nipples in B cups”) and the ever-changing cityscapes he sees (“Drop you at the A train/ Droplets baffle headlights/ World shares lightlessness with me”). Godfrey (who works as a nurse for homebound AIDS patients) puts together poems that seem more lyrical and unified with repeated readings, though still close to unpremeditated speech: “Restlessness,” he says, “is a sort of payment/ for all the moments that fail to transport,” and restlessness seems to Godfrey (Private Lemonade ) desirable in itself, even the basis of his art. He sounds best when authentically ecstatic, or when giving terse advice: “Suggest rather than decide/ Don't trust depictions of life.” This eighth book should please readers who yearn to see the newest results of Berrigan's downtown aesthetic, or who simply enjoy Godfrey's earnest, distractable, willingly unpolished approach. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/16/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 95 pages - 978-1-933517-32-2
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