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Goldbarths s exciting new collection ranges from sonnet-sized meditations to extended narratives; from myth-laden journeys through a river-tangled pocket of Peru to the celebrated Goldbarthian territory of pop cultural autobiography. The centerpiece of Beyond is The Two Domains, an award winning, prose- and verse-tale that hurtles over boundaries between poetry and fiction, reality and fantasy. Though various and far-reaching in their concerns, all of the poems in this brilliant volume contribute toward an ambitious exploration of what is beyond the incorporeal, the paranormal, and life lived over the knowable edge.
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A National Book Critics Circle Award winner for his Heaven and Earth, and the author of numerous other volumes of verse, Goldbarth relies on a wealth of odd facts and arcane information as points of departure for his often gimmicky poems. Self- co nscious to a fault, Goldbarth tries to ingratiate himself with readersan air of desperation lurks behind his chummy demeanor in poem after anecdotal poem, many of which return to his recurrent effort to link past and present, high and low culture, and the mythic with the everyday. The last is dramatized in the narrative sequence Heart on a Chain (divided as sonnets): here, a female archaeologist, far from her lover, says yes to ectoplasm while exploring the spirits of the dead. In the long narrative The T wo Domains, the ghosts of the past converge directly with the present when a ghostbuster is hired by a notions manufacturer to exorcize the restless spirits from a warehouselike many of Goldbarths poems, it ends with a Vonnegut-like so it goes, and a reaf firmation of how little we know. Two Cents similarly reminds us that everybody/alive is small against the dead, as we are in the scheme of science, at least as rendered in Goldbarths pop-NOVA versions of unusual phenomena, whether pixels or pink river dol phins. More tummler, barker, and prankster than poet, Goldbarth patches together poems from the thinnest material: his pile-on sensibility cries out for an editorial pencil, despite his affable personality throughout the volume. -- Copyright ©19 98, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
At first glance, Goldbarth's poems look like nothing more than a gorgeous pile-up of odd facts, but look again; the poet carefully structures his work for maximum effect, bringing together a rich array of information that helps reshape our view of the world. "No one can so deftly draw as many large and disparate chunks of the world into a poem," observed LJ reviewer Fred Muratori when recommending this work.
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