"Karma," writes Tom Clark, "simply means that you don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." Existence a.k.a. "getting through to tomorrow" simply means "that your left hand wouldn't want to know anyway." Cracked consciousness vs. the crazy subconscious, fractured karma vs. our chipped, sad, shopworn existence these are the dynamics underlying this rich and varied collection of lyrics.
Here are light-hearted nature poems chronicling a Pacific Coast cold snap, affectionate satires of the California brand of Zen Buddhism, and, in a pronounced shift of tone, a series of moving elegies for Robert Duncan, Delmore Schwartz, Hart Crane, and Jean Genet. Best of all, here is one of Clark's matchless biographies in verse: a short double life of English music-hall great George Formby (1904 1961), master of the ukulele and the double-entendre, and the onetime professional clog-dancer Beryl Ingham, Formby's wife, agent, manager, muse, and tight-fisted Colonel Parker.
"There is beauty and humor here," said Library Journal, "and an exquisite eye for detail."
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In this latest collection, Clark (who has some 30 books of poetry to his credit), has produced an interesting if occasionally ponderous work. Divided into a prelude and six parts, it largely conveys the poet's command of language and concern for nature and humankind's continued distance from it. Clark's vision is often surreal, and his images have a dreamlike quality, but he achieves continuity of style and thought by assembling and reassembling verses. A line or two of one poem will appear later in a different sequence and slightly altered context, with patterns forming, breaking down, and reappearing. There is both beauty and humor here, and an exquisite eye for detail. The final part is least successful. An extended biographical poem in short, one- or two-line breaks, it is at times indistinguishable from narrative prose--which gets tiresome over the span of 65 pages. Still, on the whole Clark offers a unique and original volume. Recommended for libraries with large collections of contemporary poetry.
- Richard Churchill, Univ . of Baltimore
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Clark gives us what a poet is supposed to give us: one man's independently arrived-at spiritual and material vision of the world. He is one of our original modern troubadours, and he deserves to be heard." --Tony Hoagland, Poetry Flash
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Book Description Book Condition: New. shipped within 1 working day from the UK. Bookseller Inventory # 212/RG/265P
Book Description Black Sparrow Press, 1990. paperback. Book Condition: New. Book. Bookseller Inventory # L-CL1990S-A
Book Description Black Sparrow Press, 1990. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0876857918