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Arnold Skemer:

Phrygian Press
58-09 205th St.
Bayside NY, 11364

54 pp., $6.00

Unfashionable (that's a compliment). This narrative plays with point of view: "You" to "he" to "I" to "he" to "you" again; and the structure is a circular movement framing the narrator's oscillations: in/out/in/out... I intend this sexual pun: the self-exiled narrator, alone in his Adirondack Mountains cabin, oscillates between megalomaniac self-aggrandizement and utter self-loathing, between displays of rarefied intellectuality and displays of brutal violence, between absorption into the blood-pulse of animal nature and frozen estrangement from everything material. All this rendered in an abstract, high-styled Modernist prose; a full treatment of the alienated male narcissist of the post World War I avant-garde. The narrative, however, gives a linear progress of events which may undercut its form: the narrator cooks stew, drinks vodka, kills squirrels, takes a shit. One-way transformations of the material foregrounded by the cyclical, oscillating narrative structures which try, ineffectually, to deny them. Despite this, the work has some distinct limitations, and is, I think, largely blind to them. But these limitations, though very much of this work's time and place, are not of its writer's or readers' time and place. This seems like a deliberate choice on Skemer's part, which does create some interest in the work, for me.--Charlotte Pressler

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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