WHOLE HORSE by Kenneth Rosen


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A superduper first book of poetry by a poet too good for his anonymity, who compares with no one except perhaps Jack Kerouac. Like the late and great, Rosen's appetite for life and love is huge; aesthetically, as in Visions of Cody, he seems to want to wrap up the totality of his impressions in an infinitely long, utterly complete sentence -- an effort, of course, doomed to failure, the irony of which he also acknowledges: ""you know how it is, the way trees/acquire density, dimension, so frozen stiff/ and green, whereas a mash of clouds invades/ the sky and leaves, the sun comes out like/ an angel, white and serene in its immensity,/ as if it's going to shine forever and ever,/ and in despair you realize it's correct, it's/ going to shine, forever and ever. . . ."" He has a wry understated humor (""Now, were these horses in hangars or people on meat-hooks?"") based upon an implicit but vaguely cheerful assumption of the utter absurdity of life: ""There is a city in southwestern Maine: Bridgton. I don't know why of cities it/ should interest me. Three or four years ago/ I attended a wedding there and whether/the bride or groom are married could hardly matter."" His indifferent line divisions are both a consequence and a redemption of the utter arbitrariness through which his eyes view a world that is both mundane and surreal. This is an extremely exciting book of poetry that stands aloof from the various isms and aesthetics of our day; it should be read for its own cool tough integrity.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Braziller