THE CENTER OF ATTENTION by Daniel Hoffman

THE CENTER OF ATTENTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another collection of poems from a little-known author who has enough books to his name, if not his credit, to make many a better poet jealous. He is a self-described traditionalist whose adherence to form makes itself felt by a beating to death of metaphors, a fascination for archaic words (""viaticum"" and ""comber""), and a usage of rhyme that dangles dangerously on the edge of doggerel: ""No more can you escape the dust/ Than prove that Night, or Day, is just."" His most interesting poems are those where he assumes the persona of a specific animal (shrew, raven) or object (door, path); the worst where he pontificates on society's woes. His metaphysics tend towards pompous vacuity (""What is a wave but a gesture of the sea"") but occasionally his obtrusive rhythms coincide with mystic vision to create Blakean moments of razzle-dazzle: ""Who in this bowling alley spins/ Balls of light/ At the back of the North Wind/ Careening as their plastic skins/ Mirror widdershins."" This is a group of uneven works by an author who often seems on the wrong path in his search for the sublime.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1974
Publisher: Random House