In this stunning new collection of poems, Mary Jo Bang jettisons the reader into the dreamlike world of Louise, a woman in love. With language delicate, smooth, and wryly funny, Louise is on a voyage without destination, traveling with a cast of enigmatic others, including her lover, Ham. Louise is as musical as she is mysterious and the reader is ...
In this stunning new collection of poems, Mary Jo Bang jettisons the reader into the dreamlike world of Louise, a woman in love. With language delicate, smooth, and wryly funny, Louise is on a voyage without destination, traveling with a cast of enigmatic others, including her lover, Ham. Louise is as musical as she is mysterious and the reader is invited to listen. In her world, anything goes, provided it is breathtaking. Bang, whose first collection was the prize-winning Apology for Want, both parodies and pays homage to the lyric tradition, borrowing its lush music and dramatic structure to give new voice to the old concerns of the late Romantic poets. Louise in Love is a dramatic postmodern verse-novel with an eloquent free-floating narration. The poems, rife with literary allusion, take journeys to distant lands. And, like anyone on a voyage without a destination, they are endlessly questioning of the enigmatic world around them.
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-11-06 This is not a book about silent screen star Louise Brooks, despite her photo on the book's cover, seeming references to the notoriously alcoholic Brooks's many lost weekends, and persistent echoes of the 1920s throughout. Bang's (Apology for Want) "dramatis personae" in these serial poems include, among many others, Louise; her sister, Louise; her lover, Ham; and Ham's brother, Charles. Nothing much happens, but sensibilities are conveyed with accurate emotions and a liberally deployed knowledge of the arts. Like many of the louche denizens of Brooks's era, Bang's characters can overdo the alliteration and borrowing of musicality of foreign languages, whether French or Italian: "Louise dreamed a clowder of cats was eating yesterday's dinner.../ December, a drear pentimento─unveiling the mouth...." The sardonic "Here's a Fine Word: Prettiplease" has some of the world-weary tone of Jean Rhys and Dorothy Parker, but the dominant influence here may be John Berryman's Henry, who harkened back in a similarly multi-vocal fashion. And Louise's problems in her love affair with Ham (along with their erotic doubles) point to a wry gay subtext ? la Djuna Barnes. While some readers will find the clowder of characters and their Edward Gorey-like diction cloying, others will delight in Bang's unsparing ("Diaphragmatic heaving. Base emetic act./ The puky little sun glowing to a glare. Puissance.") time-channeling. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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