YOUNG MEN'S GOLD by Daniel Mark Epstein


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One finishes--and can't remember what's been read. The collection, Epstein's second, begins with a batch of love poems, most of which are built on obtuse imagery and the apparent premise that a poet need not commit himself if he can graphically dazzle or shock his reader, as in ""The Late Visitor"": ""A lady comes to me at an ungodly hour/ and takes off her clothes,/ she takes off my clothes. . . ,"" or in ""How to Survive Heaven"" where he says: ""So I opened one door on a white blizzard of stars/ and one to an avalanche of green that was our spring. . . ."" This sort of banter continues in the title poem (a treatise on the guilt of having gone to war) and the poems which conclude the volume, such as ""Old Man By the River,"" where Epstein states: "". . . Little girls with lightning-quick hands/ arrest the leaping blossoms in mid-flight/ and lay them on my doorsteps in the night. . . ."" Gratuitous image-making of this kind leaves a reader wondering what statement, if any, is to be made. Or whether the poet is merely talking to himself.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1978
Publisher: Overlook--dist. by Viking