cover image Popular Culture

Popular Culture

Albert Goldbarth. Ohio State University Press, $35 (95pp) ISBN 978-0-8142-0498-6

Goldbarth ( Jan. 31 ) here infuses the gewgaws of pop culture--from science fiction to rock 'n' roll--with fresh energy and wit. Writing from the point of view of a boy-man narrator whose father's death has prompted him to relive special moments of childhood, the poet tackles difficult issues, juxtaposing biography and culture by often circuitous routes. In ``Again,'' Goldbarth weaves back and forth between images of his father's death, the break-up of both his marriage and that of a friend, a nurse's longing for her estranged husband, the meaning of pain, and war-torn Japan. Trenchant observations abound in these long serial poems, though Goldbarth's run-on sentences and nonchronological time schemes can appear convoluted, and some poems may stymie the reader with madcap philosophizing. (Nov.)