Young poets ought constantly be reminded of Oscar Wilde's salutary dictum that —All bad verse is sincere.— Apparently...

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Young poets ought constantly be reminded of Oscar Wilde's salutary dictum that —All bad verse is sincere.— Apparently Bonnell was not. Her debut collection suffers from such a heaviness of purpose—inflated and freighted with a naturalistic rhetoric that feels justified in counting —umber,— —glaucous,— and —glossolalia— as vernacular terms—that the slim volume all but groans beneath the burden of its load. Everything here, from the overwrought titles (—Happiness Is an Unending Bolivia— ) to the precious phrasings (—clapbeat love deathmeat sweet—) to the juvenile aesthetics (—[Poetry] comes on like a seizure / . . . / The shock of recognition / knocks you into yourself / and you must haul yourself out / or you—ll come to / choking on your tongue—), announces the presence of an untried hand richer in confidence than experience or craft, and the —Eurydice— cycle—which rehashes the Orpheus myth in a contemporary idiom (—Orpheus had red hair, wore suspenders. / As a child he had an ant farm, carried an aluminum 45—)—only strengthens the impression that this is an academic work by a clever undergraduate. Confidence is a key to success, however, and the author's confidence is winning in its own right. But for the work to succeed, such self-assurance must convince the reader it's grounded in a talent stronger than the one displayed here. Young wine not nearly ready to be drunk.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1999

ISBN: ---

Page Count: 64

Publisher: "Millcreek (50 Congress St., Boston, MA 02109)"

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999