TEA by D.A. Powell


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paper 0-8195-6335-8 Explaining in prose what your poetry isn—t is not the best way to introduce a first volume, even if you rightly suspect that your work will be reduced to its surfaces as a series of elegies for victims of AIDS, which this is, but only in part. Over the course of his rough and rude debut, Powell develops beyond the unabashed homoerotic-confessionalism that provides the shock- value here (—between scott’s asshole and his mouth I could not say which I preferred—). An anthropologist of gay rites and rituals, Powell captures the sweaty rhythms of disco culture in the ’70s, borrowing key lines from his favorite Donna Summers songs to measure his life as hustler and —high-risk behavior posterchild.— Mixing camp and high art, the poet imagines Sal Mineo’s dying words, Robin’s lament over Batman’s lust for him, and Walt Whitman as disco diva Diana Ross. Powell’s unique and sometimes compelling style—lines too long for a standard page width, erratic punctuation, fragments connected by colons—begins to seem gimmicky with repetition. This ambitious debut would have benefitted from some formal promiscuity.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1998
ISBN: 0-8195-6334-X
Page count: 88pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998