Errol Miller. Pavement Saw (SPD, dist.), $8 paper (72p) ISBN 1-886350-51-5

Following Downward Glide, Louisiana poet Miller takes readers on a rapid tour of the Mississippi Delta, from "West Feliciana up to naughty Natchez," in this third collection. In Miller's "collage/ of life & death," longer, more conventional descriptive poetry is seemingly overheard in bits and snatches, and noun phrases pile up, interfere and collide during the transcription process. "From Extraordinary Tides" we see that "the coming struggle geographical packmen meridian/ lines a tangle of kudzu bountiful domain"; "from Goodbye & Far Away, The Lovely Lights" ends with "pine needles, kelp, ice/ cubes inscribed Nineteen 99, streamers/ from blue weddings, a testimony/ from the Old Man." Though Miller's publication record ties him to a present-day avant-garde, his sensibility and aims recall the hard-edged, fragment-oriented poets of past decades, among them Mina Loy and Gary Snyder (both of whom provide Miller with epigraphs) and Ed Dorn. Many poems seem like serial notes to intimates, with attractive phrases sorted and set down without much cognitive or emotional processing, and a private shorthand assumed. Yet, quite often, it works. The poems of "dreamland fractures... where/ logic is seldom chosen" offer crisp and memorable glimpses of a "Gulf Coast simmering on horizon," with its "Spilled milk ol' dilapidated storefronts," "alluvial silt," "she-crab silt," "essential gumbo weeds" and "majestic jugs of wine." And the freshness and immediacy often crosses over into genuine challenge-"How much cotton/ shipped over fresh water to/ market damaged goods/ or just the fruit of labor?" "from Plantation" asks-compelling readers to visit repeatedly. (Dec.)