cover image Memory Gardens

Memory Gardens

Robert Creeley. New Directions Publishing Corporation, $15.95 (88pp) ISBN 978-0-8112-0973-1

Sometimes it seems as if Creeley's new poems are merely an exercise in being Creeley, as in the poem ""Out'': ``Within pitiless/ indifference/ things left/ out.'' Or ``There'': ``On such a day/ did it happen/ by happy coincidence/ just here.'' Or ``Heavenly Hannah'': ``Oh Hannie/help me/ help.'' The lacunae, however, are well earned, not only by Creeley's previous worka collection of his poems was published to acclaim in 1983but by the longer, more complex abbreviations surrounding these extraordinary minipoems. Memory Gardens is rife with the scent of nostalgia, that state of being in which something's absence is its strongest presence, where emptiness becomes the fullness of that which is long gone. What Creeley has to say about this worn-out themeabout cemeteries, faded photographs, dead parents and the knock-knock of death itselfmatters because of his style. His long-standing talent is ripening to ever-more gorgeous effects. (May)