CRUELTY by Ai

CRUELTY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An intense first collection of poems by a young woman apparently obsessed with pregnancy, abortion, menstruation, and murder. The tone is that of one long, monotonous, indiscriminate howl at everything from cutting firewood (""You raise the axe,/ the block of wood screams in half"") to masturbation (""I want to kill this female hand""). A hitchhiker kills a lady who picks him up, a deserter shoots an old woman who sheltered him; love is never reciprocal, but bought, stolen, or brutally forced from women, spoken of in the images of bad 19th-century novels: ""shoving your snake up me,"" ""Fill my tunnel,"" ""The seam between my legs,/ basted with hair tears apart,/ as your blue, flannel spoon slips inside,"" ""we can blast another hole in ourselves."" A morbid, depressing book, whose anguish seems too artfully sustained to be entirely credible.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1973
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin