TESTIMONY: The United States (1885-1890): A Recitative by Charles Resnikoff

TESTIMONY: The United States (1885-1890): A Recitative

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mr. Resnikoff was admitted to the bar in 1916, but turned to writing and publishing prose and poetry instead of practising law. This volume is the first of projected series of five, in which he plans to cover, in poetry, the history of the United States from 1885 to 1910, using facts drawn from law reports of that period. This first volume is divided into three sections: South, North, and West, with various subdivisions (""social life,"" ""domestic scenes,"" ""machine age,"" ""property,"" etc.) and each of the spare, free-form, almost prose poems which comprise the volume is based on a singularly grisly case-history. Children fall under trains or machines; husbands, wives and total strangers shoot or knife each other; families do each other out of property. As a history of the United States, it seems scarcely representative, or even regional (similar accidents occur and personalities emerge in all three regions). As a sort of morbid Spoon River Anthology cum police report, however, it is certainly striking and effectively told, without moralizing or poetic padding to mar its doomsday record of senseless violences.

Publisher: New Directions