Shaving

December 12, 2016 - Comment

This isn’t a book to read aloud in polite company. But what a refreshment that is, given the overpowering strain of gentility and restraint in American poetry. Useful as decorum may be as a poetic virtue in Moore and Bishop, interesting as some poems are by Frost and Stevens that conceal rather than reveal, such

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This isn’t a book to read aloud in polite company. But what a refreshment that is, given the overpowering strain of gentility and restraint in American poetry. Useful as decorum may be as a poetic virtue in Moore and Bishop, interesting as some poems are by Frost and Stevens that conceal rather than reveal, such tendencies have become moribund in lesser writers. There has been a justly strong reaction against the confessional, suicidal poetry of the Sixties. But Berg’s work, while deeply autobiographical, is not confessional. It is meditative, “metaphysical”: it presents profound psychic knots and tries to untie them or at least show us their shape. There is an amazing variety in this work, of tone, of movement, of narrative, of anecdote, of subject. Shaving is more presentational and objective (a la Chekhov) than anything by Lowell, Plath or Sexton. The self is certainly a similar amphitheater for Berg, but it isn’t inexorably at center-stage; its sympathies and boundaries are wider. And it is this expansiveness (precisely what is lacking in confessional poetry) that is so exhilarating. Something absolutely new is being done in this book.

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Comments

Brandon says:

More valuable than gold. This is it. The Mecca of prose poetry. the most important thing I own in this world.

David E. Stringer says:

Five Stars beautiful quality, as described, and promptness in delivery always appreciated – many thanks

Anonymous says:

Poetic prose; forget line breaks; rhythm, friend! It sounds trite, but pioneer is the only word that comes to mind. Steve is out there practicing what I believe to be a long ignored art. In his writng, Steve finds the perfect rhythm that eliminates the need for line breaks, his pauses are reminiscent of Kerouac’s dashes where he stopped blowing to inhale for another verse of “bop prose”.Berg blowing beyond all limits and breaking all the norms! Beautiful, or at least thats the opinion of this Zen Berg hopeful-

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