Reviews

Stardust

"Not till the fire is dying in the grate /
Look we for any kinship with the stars."

—Meredith

The post-World War I shattered visions of Pound and Eliot are perhaps fundamentally less different from the incoherencies of Kerouac and Corso, the randomly referential allegory of Ashbery, or the associative anarchy of Bly and Merwin than we have been taught. Our century seems more whole the more of it we have to look on; one of its clearest characteristics is its overwhelmingly disconnected diversity. Yeats's "things fall apart" has become the mellowest of understatements.

In the context of such disorganization, Fred Chappell's seventh volume of poetry becomes illuminating. At first reading Source seems to participate, both in its overall structure and in particular poems, in this chaos. Nothing, it turns out, could be farther from the truth.

The center of the volume is "Latencies." It begins with an apparently straightforward explanation of the speaker's book-derived understanding of the idea of latency. But the image suggesting the idea keys rich evocations:

the stars

come out, bright fishnet lifting

from...

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