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Publishers Weekly, 1999-04-26 St. Johns idiosyncratic and evocative collection moves with a Stein-like sense of aphorism whose verbal play (Vase: / And water are righteousness) often depends on a violence of political associationsThe lamps hung like a lynching/ In my townor on the absurdity of freedom of choice: Mr. Anderson delivers the Stars/ And never has to say anything.// I vote for Mr. Anderson. St. Johns glibness makes his opacity seem more off-handed than significant, but at their best, his multivocal experiments confront the semi-conscious roots of radical change. Dreamer, about slave ship captain-cum-abolitionist John Newton, trolls fragmented, consciousness-laden waters, allowing the poet to envision a highly personal set of conditions that might permit revolution: All the colors are conjurers when our/ mysteries are being solved. And if this could/ not be his dream then by now it should be ours. And in poems like Survival, St. John achieves a caligraphic, haunting efficacy: Where is my father?/ Black got the man,/ Deep inside,/ All by himself. St. John, who along with four other poets inauguarated the Poets in the Schools program, seems to search for a productive relationship between his art and politics, and the results are often powerful. (May)
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