WHISPER TO THE EARTH by David Ignatow

WHISPER TO THE EARTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ignatow is always a difficult proposition. He's a poet who is able, in the plainest, almost embarrassingly unfrilled language, to celebrate the fiat-real, the necessary, and ""so many meaningful differences."" Yet he can also bare his breast in agony. And, most unfortunately of all, Ignatow's saccharine philosophy--You're here/I'm-here/And it's Good--often brings him perilously close to a sort of soft-focus, greeting-card verse: ""I do not pass judgment on you, and if you should find it in yourself to see me as but a human being in trouble, think of me as company too."" The mix of strong and weak is about fifty-fifty in this latest collection--which is also halved roughly between prose poems and broken-lined ones. And the book as a whole draws some effective tension from Ignatow's inner disquiet: a poem like ""One Leaf"" (""One leaf all by itself/in the air and it does not speak/ of loneliness or death"") seems to argue for hope against the horror of death in ""The Body"": ""I stare at it in the mirror and I look down on it naked and see nothing to have warned me in the past of its decision to be finished at a certain time. . . ."" There's a continuing sub-theme too--through poems about hammers and blows--about emotional room being opened. But the artfulness varies widely from poem to poem; the ultimate effect is distinctly uneven.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1981
Publisher: Little, Brown