A half-dozen poems here (""Epistemology,"" ""Volitions,"" ""Precious Weak Fields,"" ""Scribbles,"" ""Devastation,""...



A half-dozen poems here (""Epistemology,"" ""Volitions,"" ""Precious Weak Fields,"" ""Scribbles,"" ""Devastation,"" ""Rivulose"") are as wonderful as any by Ammons. Very short, they usually consist of a single sentence subjected--by line-breaks and odd syntactical annealings--to processions down the page more mimetic of natural gravity than nearly any since those of William Carlos Williams. It is (as ""Subsumption"" explains) voice or tone itself which ""will sometimes/ just do/ something, blow/ a leaf off a branch/ without ambiguity or equivocation/ or, a rose, unwind/ into clarity/simply."" In ""Night Chill,"" this tone further coaxes out a beautifully tufted sound. But many of the other poems here are not as well achieved. And Ammons' syntax remains frequently hard-to-follow, here further complicated by such gratuitous verbal tics as hyphenization (""substance-low,"" ""heat-holdings,"" ""in-chipped"") or abbreviations (""bldgs.,"" ""mts.""). Still, though this new collection isn't likely to win over the heretofore unconvinced, the best work here is impossible to ignore--Ammons writes like no one else--and should receive the widest possible exposure.

Pub Date: May 3, 1982


Page Count: -

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1982