Publishers Weekly, 1993-01-04 In his latest offering the prolific, many-faceted Goldbarth (who won a National Book Critics Circle Award for Heaven & Earth: A Cosmology ) adopts a tragicomic stance, deifying just about anything (a 15-page masterpiece makes a god of Speedy Alka-Seltzer and other advertising figures). Goldbarth delights in juxtaposing obscure incidents from the speaker's life with those of ancestral ghosts who serve ``as totem mists / about us, curative, enabling.'' The entire book is a mocking of genealogy and family history: the speaker's grandmother is cast in a Brueghel painting, for example. The next poem begins: ``When my grandfather stepped from the boat / they gave him a choice of paintings to enter.'' This could well seem surreal, or at best superfluous, until he chooses Renoir's The Boating Party. Throughout, there are undertones and reminders of death: unknown great-grandparents, a wife, a sister, a mother. This volume is alternately enchanting and infuriating. Often caught up in intellectual word-play, Goldbarth writes long, prosaic lines that can leave the reader behind. But when he lets down his guard a tenderness comes through. About half the poems here display the poet's brilliance. (Feb.)
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.