TRee Logo

Timothy Russell:

TriQuarterly Books
Northwestern Univ. Press
Evanston IL, 60208

87 pp.

James Wright's imprint is noticeable throughout this prize-winning collection. Readers appreciative of plain-spoken poems which articulate the lives and localities of the Ohio River Valley will discover in Timothy Russell a narrative poet closely attuned to the daily and seasonal details of place. The Wright lineage is unmistakable in such lines as "Tonight I briefly thought I might explode/ In blossom..." ("In Vivo") and "What you do here for entertainment is/ you visit the bus station early/ to get the Wheeling paper and to see/ the latest Little Egypt dressed..." ("In Otium"). Indeed, that line of work extending from Williams' dicta about pursuing the American idiom is the resonant sounding board spuming and snarling in Russell's work.

Both Williams and Wright are admirable forefathers, and Russell has learned their lessons well. His writing is clear and uncrowded, populous with citizens, sensitive to the ironic juxtaposing of beauty and decay, unafraid to leap ascendent or plunge into the grotty scuzz of the mundane (" week/ another gang of hoodlums/ will again be gouging the shiniest cars/ in the neighborhood..." (In Novus Ordo"). Adversaria is a classy addition to the Rust Belt strain of the American Grain.-jl

Back to TapRoot Reviews homepage.

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

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