Sunday, November 26, 2006

Williamson on Covey

Dustin Williamson reviews Bruce Covey's Elapsing Speedway Organism.

"ESO, not to be confused w/ ELO, is the kind of poetry book that reminds you that the New York School style still has a reason to be pursued. And I don’t mean the John Ashbery by way of James Tate elliptical mess that young MFA’d poets produce because they don’t want to take the time to edit, but rather the “poem showing its structure on its sleeve” style of Kenneth Koch or early Ron Padgett. Many of the poems in ESO will remind you of exercises or games, but it would be silly for you to write them off as such. I admit to being totally wary when I came across an early poem in the collection titled “Odds” that uses the overt and seemingly insurmountable conceit of listing the odds of certain events or people. A typical stanza in “Odds” is a list of related items, either by category (such as types of candy) or associated things (like names with “George” in them) with their odds in descending probability. There is no context for the odds other than what the relations in the stanzas provide. This would appear to be a tiresome structure to a poem, especially over two pages; however, Covey pulls it off w/ typical NYS aplomb."


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