The newest book by the female doyenne of the ailing New York poetry scene, whose poems of institutionalized nonsense almost...

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The newest book by the female doyenne of the ailing New York poetry scene, whose poems of institutionalized nonsense almost unfailingly present an ""up"" image (both of the writer and the world) -- a poetry whose morality is energy and self-honesty, hence self-referential. This is the basis of a persistent charge of ""slightness"" from the Establishment that stems from the mistaken transposition of older values onto a more radical aesthetic. Rather than attesting to inner states whose accuracy and sincerity must be taken on faith. Waldman recreates them (via objective correlative) for the reader -- achieving divine silliness by strings of inconsequential irrelevances and babblings that turn into puns or vice versa -- ""motor of Falcon/ motor of cat/ motormotor of cat/ Cat motor/ TV motor/ Mr. & Mrs. Motor/. . . . o the big noisy obnoxious motorboats/ pulling those hotshit guys going/ waterskiing/ I've done it myself ya know & I know it's/ EASY!"" -- And there might be an occasional vision of the ordinary so clear it seems surreal: ""To stand under water/ feet on ocean floor/ walk around/ is difficult for man/ so he swims the best he can."" The endemic failings, as might be expected, are not those of traditional verse -- looseness that is sometimes merely incoherence, an insistence on the spontaneous that slights revision, a tendency towards superficiality as an overcompensatory reaction against the linear sludge of academia. But these are small prices to pay for poems that are both accessible and enjoyable without being sentimental, always entertaining and sometimes memorable, that use the partially drug-inspired lightness of the Woodstock era as a conscious defense against the serious '70's and those creators and critics who manufacture boredom and despair in the very process of denouncing it.

Pub Date: July 1, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1973