From Publishers Weekly
Markson, as a prose writer, has often been compared to James Joyce. His novels, Springer's Progress and, particularly, Wittgenstein's Mistress , are filled with a kind of lyrical music and allusiveness that is the very embodiment of modernist fiction. Here, he has assembled an amusing and at times moving collection of short poems, and if they perform no other function than to give solid, comic, earthy background to the stylistic arabesques of his other work, then they have served a good purpose. The poems have a throwaway quality to them, light lyrics composed under duress of hangover, love's betrayals and bad reviews. Together, they track the rising and falling, soft and embittered sensibility of a New York writer eyeing the streets for women or perhaps Dylan Thomas. Or James Agee. Or e.e. cummings. Or Malcolm Lowry (about whom Markson has written a critical study). Markson's style, he admits in the foreword, is "of a type generally deemed antiquated," but the book seems only all the more larkish for it. The appendices include a prose reminiscence of Conrad Aiken, and a recollection of the night that drinking buddy Dylan Thomas died. Like Joyce's single volume of poems Chamber Music , these poems provide a little more grip on the major works of their creator.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Like Joyce's single volume of poems Chamber Music, these poems provide a little more grip on the major works of their creator." -- Publishers Weekly 8-9-93
"Ultimately, that very sense of playfulness and humor distinguishes these poems from the seriousness and cynicism that sometimes seem to dominate our literature and our life." -- The Malcolm Lowry Review Fall 93