MAN-FATE: The Swan Song of Brother Antoninus by Everson William

MAN-FATE: The Swan Song of Brother Antoninus

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William Everson is the former Brother Antoninus. After twenty years as a Catholic poet, ""the karma of his passion overwhelmed him."" Concluding the first public reading of his long poem Tendril in the Mesh (""Crotch and thigh; she is reft. Let me break white flesh asunder to cock this woman"". . . ""Between the split of your thighs I plant spurts of voracious pleasure"". . . ""Guru of my bed, who have taught me koans of revealment. . .""), the poet's preface explains, ""he stripped off his religious habit and fled the platform."" Take that as a watchword for this fifteen-poem collection: this is the poetry of an exhibitionist. Everson has a fine aural sense but drowns in his own wretched excess -- of ""poetic"" language and sometimes length, as well as emotion. When he steers clear of confessional breast-beating, chain-shaking, throat-clutching, and hysterical sobbing, he achieves a nice little poem. And even when he is at his frenzied worst, there's a good human interest story here. For those who like tabloids in romantic verse.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1974
Publisher: New Directions