Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This review is taken from PN Review 116, Volume 23 Number 6, July - August 1997.

CLOSING THE SHOW HAYDEN CARRUTH, Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey, Poems, 1991-1995 (Copper Canyon Press)

Most people, poets included, don't handle their own eschatology too well. Like assault troops winding up, Dylan Thomas's bombastic 'Rage, rage…' is the preferred bluff, covering the gut-churning fear of Larkin's 'Aubade'. But between these poles of rhetoric and submission, it is perhaps possible, as Hayden Carruth suggests in Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey, to go out in style.

Facing the end seems to have loosened Carruth up, even to the point of giddiness. Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey is more relaxed, conversational, and vernacular than his previous books which I have always found rather architectural in structure and orotund in language; the 'short poems' in his Collected Short Poems tend to be long. Here, the mood is elegy (with some wonderful love poems) laced with anger and a. refusal to give up. Some of this is too didactic. His two-liner 'The Last Poem in the World' reads, 'Would I write it if I could/Bet your glitzy ass I would.' This is bragging out of fear (and that 'glitzy' doesn't really worko. When Carruth gets angry at how the world works, his spleen overpowers him. 'In Georgetown', he writes of Washington's power-brokers: 'Fucking each other's wives in dens and laundry rooms and pantries./This is called a party. Some are Democrats, some Republicans, all are fuckers.' This rant will not change Washington and adds nothing to poetry.

Fortunately, most of Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey consists of moments, like drops teetering before they fall, capturing a transitory fullness in ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image