Monday, October 6, 2008

Eric Ormsby's "Time's Covenant"

Trying to write a three hundred word review of Eric Ormsby's selected Time's Covenant is somewhat analogous to being a tour guide on an eighty mile-an-hour bus, shouting out the ornate virtues of a fast-receding Italian church.

Ormsby dazzles with a surfeit of intricate soundplay, both symphony and delicate sonata. I won't list examples since I wouldn't know where to start -- or end -- but the careful insinuation of sound and sense is simultaneously a balm and an excitement in a world of flat newsspeak and inarticulate snippets.

The only cavil I have with Ormsby's oeuvre, taken in its entirety, is his distancing voice, his habit of, and predilection for, describing the object rather than engaging it with more volatility. (The biggest exception here are the wonderful recollections of life with his grandmother.)

(That bus was really speeding; make that a one hundred forty-nine word review.)

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