POETRY

Robert Schumann Is Mad Again

Copper Canyon. Jun. 2019. 80p. ISBN 9781556595653. pap. $16. POETRY
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Emulating the continuous chaos of dreams, the poems in Dubie’s 30th collection (after Lumen de Lumine) throw logic to the wind in their quest for sense beyond sensibility (“a new moon begins its search of integers/ like belief crossing the burning night streets”). They bristle with adjectives, contradictions, ironies, academic name-checks, and extended, Möbius-strip metaphors (“the sphere/ of neglect that is unconscious belief in sky”) that prompt mental double takes. Now in his 70s, Dubie still manages to convey the unfettered, run-on energy of a young poet in first-draft flight, but amid the roil of unfathomable non-sequiturs and hallucinatory figures arise sharply focused images—a woman weeping into an open sandwich,” a dog barking “at a falling feather”—that temporarily return us to the world we know.
VERDICT These improvisations are like peculiar keys that fit no known locks and will no doubt find approval among those who admire surrealist poetry. Others, however, may see poems that too easily get carried away with themselves, abandoning the reader along the way.

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