NOTES FROM THE CASTLE by Howard Moss

NOTES FROM THE CASTLE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Moss' impulse toward the lyric has not diminished, but it has been pruned; the long poem, ""Gravel,"" that begins and thematically embodies this book offers proof of an eye and ear focused upon the plinking discreteness of what, elsewhere, Moss calls the ""beautiful, personal, spontaneous forms"" found in the ""renewals/ Of things getting ready only to be things."" Not for Moss the obduracy of mountains but, rather, the crunch of pebbles. Descriptive energy here is mostly fluid (from ""Listening to Jazz on a Summer Terrace"": ""Ozonesweat on chromium, green felt/ Saliva stops, the shifty seeds of drums,/ That flimsy shimmy, that old rat-a-tat!"") with a few glaring weaknesses, mostly of tone: the too fey, Ashbery-like title poem or lines like ""Being is only a caster of rings,/ A moment loaned by an Indian giver."" And Moss' poems about nature are never more natural than when they ease away from phenomena and toward people within the world; it's really human variety and sadness that fixes his gaze, the quiet repetitiveness of lives that are like the gravel: stepped-on, in concert, a base.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1979
Publisher: Atheneum