A TABLE OF GREEN FIELDS by Guy Davenport

A TABLE OF GREEN FIELDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Davenport's literary intelligence can be stratospheric, and when he aims it high, he's able to make an inimitable sort of constructivist sculpture from it (Tatlin!, recall, was the title of his first collection in 1974): part quotation, part commentary, part reimagination. The feat can be electrifying--as is very much here: in ``The Concord Sonata''--considering a phrase of Thoreau's- -and ``The Kitchen Chair''--off a sentence in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal. From both he takes a bit of wordwork that we believe we merely can decode and elevates it into mystery and subtlety and diamond-like style. But, unfortunately, in order to be astonished by Davenport of late means having to endure what once again here is a surfeit of the soft-core gay kiddie-porn (masquerading as Arcadian idylls) that he puts so much of his effort to. Danish teenagers cavort and jut and spurt in tiresome displays of riggish (and etymological) energy: ``I rode the foreskin full stretch with a swirl of tongue deep on the downstroke. Shallow with a flicker on the up. I put a thraw into the treadle. For style. A thropple dive plumb to the bush. A slow ripping passage''). A frustratingly mixed bag.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8112-1251-3
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: New Directions
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993




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