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Rimbaud Versions and Inventions
still unilluminated I...
Stephen Berg

Sheep Meadow
2005 • 120 pp. 6 1/2 x 9"

$12.95 Paperback, 978-1-931357-96-8

Berg's extraordinary gifts are devoted, in The Elegy on Hats, to poems mysteriously informed by the work of Charles Baudelaire (the great French master of the prose poem). In Still Unilluminated I…, poems reinvent the work of Arthur Rimbaud.

These poems come out of Berg's life and are placed in twenty-first century America, not nineteenth-century Paris. His masters' influence has reminded some of Joyce's use of Homer in Ulysses. That is quite a mouthful, but it is earned. Where Joyce's Ulysses is set in Dublin, Berg is always an American, urban revolutionary. He makes poetry out of the ordinary, commonplace and material, out of which his sexual and religious visions are passionately made. Stated musically, his poems are played on the cello, accompanied by brass, with wrong note effects that one hears sometimes in Stravinsky's Rites of Spring, with a touch of hip-hop.

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From the Book:

A large carved cupboard of white oak
emanates that relaxed gentle air
Old people have; open, it's kindly
shadows give off fragrances like fine

wine, it overflows with a jumble
of quaint frayed things: sweet
yellowed linen, torn women's clothes,
faded laces, grandmother's shawls

embroidered with griffins, children's shirts;
there must be lockets buried somewhere,
locks of white or blond hair, portraits
and dried flowers whose odors mingle

with the smell of apples and pears. O old-fashioned
cupboard, what stories you must know, it's obvious
you'd love to tell them each time your wide doors
slowly open and you clear your throat

From "The Cupboard"

STEPHEN BERG is the founder The American Poetry Review, the most influential review of American poetry, which he has been editing and publishing for more than thirty years. His books of poetry include The Daughters, Grief, With Akhmatova at The Black Gates, In it, New & Selected Poems, Crow with No Mouth: Ikkyu, Oblivion, and Shaving. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University where he studied with Robert Lowell, and the State University of Iowa. He has taught at Temple University, Princeton, Haverford and Loyola (Baltimore), and is Professor of English at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Tue, 15 May 2018 12:59:21 -0500