PACKING UP FOR PARADISE by James Broughton

PACKING UP FOR PARADISE

Selected Poems 1946-1996
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KIRKUS REVIEW

paper 1-57423-052-2 Fifty years of poetry is here distilled into one fat volume by the West Coast filmmaker best known for the avant-garde classic —Loony Tom— (1951). Wildly indiscriminate, Broughton clings to a grab-bag mysticism throughout his career, and, like his mentor, Blake, he celebrates innocence in childlike ditties and develops a self-referential mythology that’s at times impenetrable. Deliberately archaic, and full of sing-song repetition, Broughton’s fractured nursery rhymes and street jingles are, at best, the charming ephemera of a self-described —amorist— who later proclaims, —I am Polly Morphus,— as if we didn—t know, what with endless verse extolling —Nipples and Cocks,— the joys of fellatio, and all his other —pagan— appetites (including an expert ode to —the phallus—). But Broughton’s boho goofiness, while charming in his early work, devolves into commonplace hippie grooviness (—Nourish your bliss—). A Whitmanesque catalogue of scenes from old L.A. (—I Remember Los Angeles—) stands out among the reams of self-indulgent and facile doggerel.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-57423-053-0
Page count: 331pp
Publisher: Black Sparrow/Godine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998