THE VERMONT SUICIDES by Roger Weingarten


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A disappointment in conception and execution. Combining the long, breathy line of Whitman with an arcane Ashberyesque philosophical perspective, Weingarten has created a confusing and impenetrable world peopled with minor figures and a plethora of nondescript events straining for significance. In a poem called ""The Flight of the Stonecutter,"" he focuses on the murder of an Italian granite worker in a small Vermont town sometime during the 19th century, calling up such moments as ""Inside/ Alessandro Garetto took a chair--/ and walked to the right of the door--/ straddled it, his arms folded on the back, a firm/ toothbrush moustache, a gray cloth/ cap, cocked over a tarry/ green cigar drooping his mouth. . . ."" Description of the minutest detail not only occupies inordinate amounts of space, but often sounds like prose broken arbitrarily into lines. A few short poems exhibit a certain lyrical intensity: ""The young doe in the clearing, the buff-/ colored mark of her chin, and her small m-/ shaped humid and black nostrils/ bruise the night-shade. . . ."" Unfortunately, these appear at the end of the book when the reader has lost interest. More next time, please.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1978
Publisher: Knopf