ABSOLUTION by L.C. Anderson


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Generally thought-provoking poems on subjects both particular and universal.

In 1951, William Carlos Williams championed the poetics of “no ideas but in things,” a concept that inspired throngs of 20th-century poets to seek the universal in the particular. In his second collection (All The Dead Flowers, 2004), Anderson answers Williams’s call with a forceful challenge: “There is so much more to depend on / Then [sic] we will ever admit”–lines that seem to sop up the glistening rainwater on Williams’s red wheelbarrow, and typify the very best and worst this volume has to offer. The poet reaches out to the reader through copious musings on various states of being, such as “resurrection,” “freedom,” “apprehension” and “dalliance,” unencumbered by extended metaphors or overwrought images. Such existential abstractions lend a quiet generality to the poems, a quality to which many can relate. For instance, in “Secrets”: “They are as much a part of you / As your desire to keep them hidden”–provocative insight into our sometimes bulky yet often intangible possessions. On the other hand, in such noun-laden (“dissension,” “actualization,” “destruction”) and adjective-light verse, it becomes paramount that the few words on the page accurately represent the meaning intended, which is not the case in the concluding stanza of “The Unquiet Mind”: “My last thought / Before sleep, she says / Is knowing I mean more to you / Then [sic] you to me.” These lapses become especially onerous considering that Anderson’s introduction warns against the perils of derailing the poetic line with violent mistakes or interruptions.

Occasional poor word choice aside, mildly engaging ruminations on both the banal and abstract details of life.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 2005
ISBN: 0-595-37223-6
Program: Kirkus Indie
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