THE CITY OF THE OLESHA FRUIT by Norman Dubie

THE CITY OF THE OLESHA FRUIT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Norman Dubie's seventh collection, of poems demonstrates again the power and range of his narrative skill. A fluent and resourceful guide, if occasionally a long-winded one, he leads us through Elizabethan England and colonial New England; to Scandinavia, China, and the banks of the Ganges; and into the mind's territory, the city of the Olesha fruit: ""Outside the window past the two hills there is the city/ Where the color blind are waking to blue pears."" Description is forcible because dispassionate, and even in the dramatic monologues a high degree of narrative distance persists. A widow watches a sunrise where ""the sapphire light/ Of the northeast-packet plane lifts up out of Hartford""; an old man writes a last, gentle letter to his granddaughter; an invalid who reads the works of Yuri Olesha speaks to the dead poet instead of to his wife. In ""The Seagull,"" the ill and dying Chekhov observes his sister swim at Yalta, fastened by a safety rope to a donkey on shore: ""The sea tows her out and then the donkey is whipped/ Sorrowfully until he has dragged her back to them./ I named the donkey, Moon, after the mystery of his service/ To my sister. This winter/ He has been an excellent friend."" Displaying a novelistic ambition rarely found even in long poems, Dubie has created entire worlds from a minimum of detail, where the complexity of wonder and beauty thrive.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday