cover image The Dog Star

The Dog Star

W. S. Di Piero / Author University of Massachusetts Press $20

Touching on elements of myth, history, religion and personal experience, Di Piero ( Early Light ) sets out to probe the many facets of human suffering and desire, and the ways in which we struggle to make sense of the ``gentle incoherence'' of the universe. For the poet, man's attempt to understand his part in the ineffable natural order and world design proves to be ill-conceived and ultimately futile: ``Find anyone's story in the wash of gray light on rock? / We'd find instead, at best, a straining afterimage / of the clay-and-water self we passionately need to see.'' Finally, meaning fails. The poet is just ``one more passionate bystander here / . . . The sun crazes the soil. There's an ox / pulling a man. There's water running in the ditch.'' Di Piero is at his best when using direct, descriptive language as he does in several shorter poems of great lyric intensity. But overall, he fails to fuse ideas and imagery, and the collection is riddled with clumsy metaphors and bold but unrealized leaps of imagination that fall short of its creative ambitions and promise. (July)