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Louis Dudek

Montreal, Vehicule Press, 1990. 115pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 1-55065-005-X. CIP

Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up
Reviewed by Don Precosky.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

In one of the prefatory quotations provided by Louis Dudek, Baudelaire cries out for "the miracle of a poetic prose." Continuation II is Dudek's latest installment of "poetic prose." The term is an appropriate description of the book's hybrid style, for it is neither poetry nor prose. And that is a shame, for the book's very formlessness is its downfall.

With the licensed bitterness of an old man, Dudek talks of art, aging, history and death. He seems particularly focused on questions of epistemology: how and what do we know? It all flows quite smoothly; indeed, too smoothly. There is not enough of the density and resistance that one encounters in the best poetry.

There are a few moments of keen insight, but too many more moments of banality. Sadly, the book is typical of the dead end into which the Canadian long poem has sauntered: the too easy writing down in what appears to be, but is not, verse form that which is on the top of the writer's head.

Don Precosky, College of New Caledonia, Prince George, B.C.
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