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Publishers Weekly, 1995-07-31 McClure's (Fragments of Perseus) standing as an original Beat poet will not be much modified by Three Poems. Of the three long works assembled here, only one, ``Dolphin Skull,'' is new, while ``Rare Angel'' dates to 1975 and ``Dark Brown'' to 1961. All three are electrically charged and vertically centered on the pageĉqualities for which McClure is well-known. They were written, McClure says, spontaneously. And it shows, as he leaps from subject to image to rant, making the reader work to findĉor inventĉany meaningful correlation or pattern. In ``Dolphin Skull,'' he attempts to compress the depth of history into one illuminated moment; the poet's cry to ``STOP,/ HOLD, LET THIS MOMENT never cease'' provides a romantic prelude to the apocalyptic terror of the two older poems. ``Rare Angel'' leads readers through primordial prehistory and out through the Zen tentacles of the modern unconscious selfĉarriving again and again at a certain poeticized fallout, ``the shapes of bookends, rugs, and tractors.'' The most convoluted and seamy of the three, ``Dark Brown'' shrieks page after page of tormented self-realization. The ordering of these poems, moving from most recent to earliest, feels right, allowing the reader to move backward into the inferno from which McClure's distinctive, if sometimes alienating, voice springs. (Aug.)
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