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BOOKSINBRIEF113 only an encounter between an old and a new culture but also one between a poor and a wealthy one. It is a rare poem of bourgeois self-awareness. I feel uneasy in Athens, Istanbul, and also in Beirut. People there seem to know something about me which I myself never understood, something enticing and dangerous like the submerged necropolis where we dove for amphorae last summer, a secret—half perceived when touched by the street vendors' glances suddenly makes me painfully aware of my skeleton. As if the gold coins the children hold out toward me were stolen from my own grave last night. As if casually they had crushed every bone in my head to get at them. As if the cake I just ate were sweetened with my own blood. Roger Mitchell William Everson, RiverRoot (A Syzygy for the Bicentennial of These States). Oyez/Berkeley, California; 45pp.; $2.50 What a beautiful thing that William Evetrson'ßRiverRoot comes out in a period of such sexual derangement. For what this epic and magnificent poem does is restore the love m«lcing between a man and a woman to its voluptuous and shuddering essence. It is as if Walt Whitman saw from the grave, with somber yet newly startling visage, that all the democratic vistas have long since been shattered like so many burned out tenements in the South Bronx, but still believed. As the revolutionary potential of men and women as equal beautiful forces becomes more and more a political/social/sexual possibility, the doddering social order becomes a deadly fetter on all our instincts toward liberation. Everson, a former monk (Brother Antoninus), gets to a vision of bonding in this poem that is enrapturing. Quieter, for obvious reasons (a century's difference), than Whitman, his celebration is nonetheless ecstatic, ceremonial and deeply erotic. In a most intelligent foreward, the poet speaks of this work as "a monolithic anacronism, a core of primitive exultation out of the past." Itspresence, however, sings, and calls us together. Roger Taus ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
p. 113
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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