DAVID IGNATOW: Selected Poems by David Ignatow

DAVID IGNATOW: Selected Poems

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This selection by Robert Bly of poems written all during Ignatow's life is the second of the gentle poet's books to appear this season (see also Facing the Tree, p. 1335). Here he juxtaposes ""theory"" to the smell and feel of chicken entrails (that's life, folks) and puns on his contentment with pure content. Isn't the real world's dilemma enough without having to mythify it? In ""Notes for a Lecture"" he proposes to students a meaning for America: a five-dollar raise is a bigger kick than the best sex; a dance with a broken whiskey bottle symbolizes identity. Happiness arises from chasing a dropped bagel rolling down the street; suffering, from the necessity to thank the belittling paymaster. A metaphor for the loss of community is ""The White Ceiling"" the exhausted poet contemplates while listening to the crying of a slapped child whose parents are quarreling about money. When Ignatow sets his poems in the emergency clinic, it's not because the 20th century world is a hospital but because he was once employed as an admitting clerk. What he writes is what he has observed and experienced for himself. He's very much a son of Whitman and Williams and also very much like you and me -- too damned busy trying to make a buck for that other kind of world-weariness

Pub Date: March 20th, 1975
Publisher: Wesleyan Univ. Press