cover image Cell


Lyn Hejinian, Lyne Hejinian. Sun and Moon Press, $11.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55713-021-1

Hejinian ( My Life ), one of the foremost proponents of Language poetry, here presents a dated sequence (October 1986 through January 1989). The distinctly female narrator is looking around her, recording daily events and imaginings, often with sexual undertones. As she's careful to state: ``the breasts are eyes''--for both writer and reader, it is a question of looking, and ``myopia is psychosomatic.'' The poet breaks up syntax until form becomes content, yet she works from a self-referential base, laying bare a life so disjointed that readers are left to piece it together. All the necessary fragments are supplied: ``My memory equals a narrative / replacement / Breasts in place / A person in its places.'' Hejinian's vision is outward as well as inward, yet the external objects are those in perpetual motion: sea, sky, rain. The metaphorical implications of sight become so obvious that the first few concrete references (to paper towels, a typewriter, a cracker factory) contain a wry humor. ``Postmodernism is a child's room / cluttered with toys,'' Hejinian writes. Clearly, this is an American answer to the French ecriture feminine , or body as text. As such, it is successful and provocative. (Jan.)