Blue Ashes ($13.00 paperback original;Oct.; 144 pp.; 1-55071-093-1): The volume that won Daoust the 1990 Governor General's Award for poetry. A French-Canadian by birth, Daoust sets much of his poetry in the gay demimonde of Greenwich Village. The most sensational aspect of the collection is the long title poem, a recollection of a love affair between a six-year-old boy and a pedophiliac. Told from the perspective of the boy (—He was in his twenties / Beautiful as a statue in a church / I was an angel in the creche / The one who nods his head at each offering / He loved me like no one else / Ever would love me—), it is rather more mawkish than salacious, heavily weighed down by a romantic nostalgia that is too immature to be daring. The same can be said of most of the other works here, which tend to wither prematurely on the fragile vine of urban insularity (—At the Dean and Deluca cafÇ on Prince Street / Convoluted arabesques of conversation / Abstract paintings always trying to trap / Something concrete but different from what's been said / Words wilt like flowers—) or drown in the deluge of homoerotic prurience (—A naked black beside me with hair dyed blond / Is patting Shanghai / His cock like a beached blue whale / Between the World Trade Building of his thighs—).
Read full book review >