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Richard Foerster:

Orchises Press
PO Box 20602
Alexandria VA, 22320

94 pp., $12.95

In his second collection from Orchises, Richard Foerster demonstrates his mastery of elegant, formal and artfully executed verse. His poems are serious, sad and fraught with doom. They are truly moving poetic tales of passion and eros set in a tableau sometimes personal, sometimes allusive and symbolic. And while the acronym AIDS and the terminology of its ravaging plague is utterly absent, indeed expunged, from these poems, its death curtain hangs as a heavy backdrop. One finds this characteristic in the closing stanza of "In the One-Third World": "but the dream I'd inhabit forever reeks/ of gravid soil, the full scrotal blush/ of orchids, anthers tumescent with pollen,/ the wild twining embrace, bare and trembling:/ this momentary, delible earth." These are painful lines, lush with longing and dread. They move incrementally, yet fluidly, down through the design of the poem. And though, yes, death IS the final release, the muted, pervasive irony of dying from love is, in PATTERNS OF DESCENT, the authentically tragic source of distinguished poetry.--Joel Lipman

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #4,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1995.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press