With five poetry volumes and a novel (The Dumb House, 1997) to his credit, this Scottish-born writer continues to explore...

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A NORMAL SKIN

With five poetry volumes and a novel (The Dumb House, 1997) to his credit, this Scottish-born writer continues to explore the darkness within the natural world and the difficulties in human relations. Burnside scatters the effluvia and offal of animal and insect throughout his homely poems about weasels, rats, foxes, and ""road kill."" Searching for ""order"" and ""reason"", he marvels at a woman's handling of a dead snake (""Snake""); an owl released from netting reminds him of a difficult separation of his own, as does hitting a deer with his car on a dark road (""A Process of Separation""). Confronting loss--of his father, of his own ""difficult and unrelenting love""--the poet sees angels and ghosts but dismisses them as vapors. Occasionally insightful (in poems such as ""Agoraphobia"" and ""Simon of Cyrene""), Burnside's mostly drab observations more often take a nihilistic tom--he's somber, when not just morbid.

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Jonathan Cape--dist. by Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998