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This review is taken from PN Review 94, Volume 20 Number 2, November - December 1993.

THE SLITHER OF ENJAMBMENT PAUL VIOLI, The Curious Builder (Hanging Loose Press) np pb
KENNETH KOCH, Hotel Lambosa (Coffee House Press) $10.95 pb
WYATT PRUNTY, The Run of the House (The Johns Hopkins University Press) £25.00; £10.50 pb

Violi's poems favour an enjambment of idea and image, as well as of line. The title poem of this collection opens with a sequence of glosses on dreams ('A dream of rotten cactus signifies/ that you have somehow offended the dead') and as Violi makes his catalogue of the bizarre, an undertaking obviously dear to his heart, he arrives at the dream which determines his procedure as a poet:

and you find yourself
not in a parlous maze
but a maze of openings, exploring
an expanding mansion
that must have been there all along,
then you should welcome these dreams
as their blooming enjambment
welcomes you…

This passage is representative of Violi's writing in that despite some vivid phrases ('expanding mansion', 'blooming enjambment') it seems oddly ponderous ('not … a parlous maze/ but a maze …'). Lacking the facility and drift of dreams, it is pedestrian in its detailing of possibilities and impossibilities.Though the poem asserts a relationship between form and content via the word 'enjambment', the lines convey none of that sense of discovery and surprise the technique can bring with it, and indeed do little more than mark off the sub-divisions of an extended sentence. The same let-down occurs on the larger scale, where he produces what might be called narrative enjambment.The poem proceeds from its dream catalogue to a view over the Hudson, where the faces of certain worthies (Frank Lloyd Wright, D. W. Griffith, ...

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