Near Fine in Wraps: shows only a tendency for the front panel of the wrapper covers to not lie flat; else flawless. Binding square and secure; text clean. Very close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 8vo. 92pp. Warsh is one of the few New York School-St. Marks Poetry Project writers to switch-hit as both poet and novelist, and his recent move has been to accumulate wistful, flat and perverse prose fragments and shape them into poems of realism redeemed. Many read as if Language poetry's "New Sentence" were being used to present social comedy as sympathetic as, say, Cassavettes's A Woman Under the Influence: "We smoke a last cigarette together before changing the sheets// I can spend in 5 hours what it takes me 3 days to earn// The used car salesman told me that he had a Buick with 130, 000 miles on it for $1, 600 that ran like a dream// I was in bed with her, in a dream, and her husband came in & said: I'm going to shoot you." The real poetic frisson here comes from both the constant abrupt beginning again with each hard return, and the promise that each digression will be more vulnerable than the last. Warsh deploys deadpan end-stops relentlessly as he catalogues dark jokes and missed opportunities: "He sat up in his coffin & said: `Don't I know you? '// We stood on the street corner waiting for the firecrackers to go off// I remember her smile, as I led her across the dance floor, & the tears in her eyes when I stepped on her toes." Like nirvana itself, Warsh's book is one big radiant bummer. (May)Forecast: Warsh publishes Angel Hair books, which he cofounded with Anne Waldman in the late '60s (an anthology is due later this year), and has written novels such as Money Under the Table and A Free Man. His scattered small-press volumes are hard to find (and ripe for selection); this volume should reach his regular readers on that continuum.
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