Palimpsests for Beckett & Walls for Finnegans by Carlos M. Luis

by Carlos Luis. 2004 50 pages. Anabasis Press, Oysterville, Washington 98641-0216

Book Review by

Carlos Luis is a contemporary poet who works with the visual in his poems. This book contains two serial visual poems: Palimpsests for Beckett and the second: Walls for Finnegans. As serial works they should be engaged as those serial poems of Duncan or Olson or works that bridge one another but that do not necessarily narratively follow. Luis’s poems inform in a serial fashion that stands against conventional poetry for in life, so to speak, the random and chance change shifting of things is the pattern that commands life and that in fact nature follows. Palimpsests for Beckett is, as one might suspect, layered language. In this imaginative vision of Beckett’s imagination Luis’s poetry is both expansive and minimal and there is the restlessness of form in the panels of poetry that is expressionistic without being explosive or rude. Walls for Finnegans is a large work of some 36 pages. And it is an intersection/interaction between the real and imagained. Day and Night. Meaning and unmeaning. It is a collage of facets that repeats its technique so the reader is constantly teased by meaning only to have meaning submerge again into the total poetic text. The imagination is left without convenient anchors and is aloud to roam like the splashes of ink that bind the work into a poem and the teasing surface meanings, chunks of collaged text and pictures, force the reader to pursue wonderment