WHERE THE ARROW FALLS by David Wevill

WHERE THE ARROW FALLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a two-page introduction to his poems, Wevill sets out his aesthetic credo: ""We have lost our natural images. . . the complexity of our time is a fiction. . . McLuhan has perceived a wrong turn. . . it is easy to be complex, one just is. . . ."" The author, who is cocksure, disdains ""our literature. . . full of striptease, learning aloud and confessions of failure, invitations to touch in others what we do not want to touch."" His answer is a denial of ""inventions,"" ""trivia,"" ""gadgets"" -- all that technological baggage -- and a return to ""harsh,"" ""simple,"" ""natural"" images. The upshot of this theory is highly irregular free verse with frequent and unusual caesura, a paucity of capital letters and punctuation, a rhetoric of repetition, and a skeletal spareness of image and idea (""asking, asking/ to be seen/ as God/ was once/ in a/ corn seed""). Part One contains 46 untitled poems set in the Southwest, heavily influenced by the poetry and philosophy of the American Indian; Part Two, twelve untitled poems about the need for love and touching; Part Three is two ideologically similar short ""prose impressions"" and a ""circular story."" What used to be called the alternative -- the love-mysticism-tribal ethics-natural life syndrome -- has become the conventional Weltanshauung, the politics of reaction in the guise of revolution. ""It is the big lie that facts make truth,"" says Wevill. But on the other hand, hip posturing does not make poetry.

Pub Date: April 8th, 1974
Publisher: St. Martin's Press