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Publishers Weekly, 1993-03-15 ``We are drawn toward journals out of a craving for the authentic, for the uncensored word and thought,'' Rudman ( The Nowhere Steps ) says in an essay ``On Notebooks.'' Whether discussing random jottings or a poet's most significant works, he searches for the unclothed self, starting with his own. Rudman begins this volume with a 28-page journal, written as he walks through New York City, juxtaposing childhood memories with buildings and people he passes. This same search informs his astute criticism: ``Imagine a poet's life-work as marginalia: his real thoughts, against the ones he puts forth publicly tempered by a stance, a mask. . . .'' (on Robert Duncan). Such attempts to infer the life from the writing might seem presumptuous, but Rudman's are so discerning it scarcely matters. And his probe into a writer's life is never derogatory: all the essays selected for this collection pay homage to the authors he's discussing. A respected translator of Russian poetry, Rudman is particularly insightful when addressing works in translation. Willing to risk a far-fetched opinion, his views make readers double back and rethink. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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