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Susan Smith Nash:

Texture Press
3760 Cedar Ridge Dr.
Norman OK, 73072

40 pp., $4.00

The usual issues revolving around MM are raised here (person vs. icon, ideas of the feminine, the manipulated and/or manipulating doll, etc.). But along with the standard themes of the grotesqueness and destructiveness of mass image-making is an entirely different process, a use of the topic of MM to create a fuller consciousness of self and self-in-its-history and culture that has a positive and life-affirming quality about it. The poems vary a great deal in their techniques and dictions, going from a discursive series of "Letters" in MM's voice, to the illusive, collage-style stanzas of "Pyroman Norway Air Till God Passengers Flying": "my skull will infer like fish--probable molting w/ syntax / wrinkling little or now dorso-ventrally crushed, preserve/ tunnel for dreams or lipstick or abdomen-flexured sex-/ restrict virtual, applaud--Pava Temple leaning vertical / all Guatemala "you look everything" real forebears..."

This book is not simply another spin of the Monroe prayer-wheel, but an investigation into how that wheel continues to exist, and how it connects to the world we inhabit. Whether you're interested in MM or not, this book is well worth reading and pondering over. It concludes with an essay by Thomas Lowe Taylor on Nash's poetics, which is a useful and enthusiastic take on what she does here.--John M. Bennett

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #5,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1996.

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