By Ricardo Sternberg
paper 68 pp.
McGill-Queen's University Press 0-7735-2566-1
Reviewed by Bert Almon
The extravagance (as in the root meaning, "wandering about") of his imagination is superb without straying into whimsy. He has a poem about an angel who joins the Moscow Circus, and he has written interesting poems about such unusual subjects as quarks or a millionaire who sneaks into heaven disguised as a camel. The Bible is one of his intertextual sources: he writes about the marital breakdown of Noah and his wife, the Tower of Babel, Jonah, and-most interesting of all-the birth of song out of Satan's lament for the fall of Eve. Only once does he miscalculate, with "Thumb," a poem which collects too much lore about that digit from history and science, generating a two-and-a- half page poem which lags quickly. The other poems have the rightness of external form inseparable from internal meanings. As with a Mobius strip, there is no disjunction between inner and outer: by some mystery of geometry a twist makes them into one. Sternberg's imagination makes that maneuver.
Bert Almon's newest book, Hesitation Before Birth, was published by Beach Holme Press.