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The influence of John Ashbery is very much with Yau, most clearly in Yau's tendency to precisely describe fabulous, semi-abstract landscapes: ""The immenseness of the afternoon was delineated by a highway curving out endlessly, like a dog waking up from his nap. Occasionally a bow tie wiggles in the doorway of the gas station that squats contemplatively before the mountains topped with dunce caps."" This from a prose-poem, one of nine here--and not surprisingly: the prose-poem is all surface, a veritable popover, and is perfectly suited to the super-aesthetic, nearly salon-like approach Yau takes. Yet his talent, no matter how noodling or consciously dim, makes its mark in other poems. In ""E Pluribus Unum"" (""It is no longer necessary for sunlight/ to reach here; this kitchen with its/ linoleum floor; its scuffed roses./ The light has been here all along,/ waiting for you to reach toward it,/ like a fish tinged by the ocean""), in ""Fits and Starts"" and ""Shimmering Pediment"" and ""Arden,"" Yau marshals his dry-point precision for something beyond the line-as-object, and these poems impress--as Yau himself will likely continue to, as his range grows bolder.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1980
Publisher: Sheep Meadow--dist. by Persea