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Terry Stokes is a relatively new face on the poetry circuit, young, growing, and one to watch. No artist has ever accomplished anything original without risk and Stokes, time and again in this, his third collection, runs out on limbs where angels fear to tread. These poems arise from some very private place in the poet, someplace frightening even if Stokes covers his emotions with a sense of humor as bizarre as it is ebullient (cf., the silly selections from his Reader's Digest series, with titles like ""I Am Jane's Ovary,"" ""Crisis in Middle East Oil,"" ""Why Working at Sex Doesn't Work""). He has the foolhardy courage of a crazyman or a clever, flashy kid. E.g., during ""The Week of the Haywire Razor,"" he cuts his Adam's apple--deliberately?--""& a sonnet drips into my hand like/ a tired Band-Aid."" Once you meet his family--a stepfather who smells of fecal ""bowel blood,"" a mother who smells of fish--you'll know why he seems to be masking a streak of violence and obscenity, distancing himself with wild humor, exacerbated imagery, furious leaps of logic. So distanced is Stokes from his pain that more often than not you will find his meaning not in his vocabulary, but in the tone which reverberates long after to make you deeply uneasy, as if you were sitting alone in the dark with something terrible out there.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Knopf