cover image The Green Lake Is Awake

The Green Lake Is Awake

Joseph Ceravolo. Coffee House Press, $16 (150pp) ISBN 978-1-56689-021-2

This valuable contribution to American poetics restores Ceravolo's boldly asyntactic yet stunningly precise work to book form. A New York-born hydraulics engineer, the poet died in 1988 at the age of 54. Although he received recognition early on, including the Frank O'Hara Award for Spring in This World of Poor Mutts (1968), his reputation, as evidenced by the sextet who edited this volume, has been highest among his fellow poets. His work, blending the sound-sculpting of a Clark Coolidge with deceptively calm, Ashbery-like meditations, carries within it an original and bewitching prosody as delicate as anything in Hopkins. As Kenneth Koch notes in his introduction, Ceravolo's poems ``take place in a context of simplicity, quietness, and directness. They aren't avant-garde explosions for their own sake, but occur when they are necessary to the difficult, exciting expressions of whatever has to be said.'' (June)