THE HISTORY OF THE GROWTH OF HEAVEN by Andrei Codrescu

THE HISTORY OF THE GROWTH OF HEAVEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

I, I, I is the essence of both the success and the failure of this collection of poems by the much-touted young poet, who considers ""staying loose"" the gist of his art. This he can do, sometimes wonderfully (""When Alberta swims the whole night in the creek behind/ the house where I sit counting the rooms, I want to/ send owls in the branches above her with the results of my count. 13 rooms. Alberta, 13 rooms!"") but too often the spontaneity goes and we are left with the poet straining, burning out slush: ""my mind is filled with the snow flakes of soft things."" Hyperbolic posturing (""I lie! I lie a lot!""), repetition, and whimsical imagery (""A languishing pregnancy/ pushes its lazy way through the tenth/ year!"") have a tendency to substitute for energy. Enjoyable as those poems can be, the best come when the poet abandons his ""up"" persona and settles for himself: ""i have no particular taste for this world. i am looking/ for an utterly still completely/ dead hotel."" The book is disappointing because it could have been so much better; the poet seems content with his short quick punches (never more than a page long), with feelings and ideas he is already competent to express; the rather melancholy case of the grasp exceeding the reach.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Braziller