Integrity & Dramatic Life
Author: Anselm Berrigan
Publisher: Edge Books (1999)
In his first book-length volume of poetry, Anselm Berrigan asks "Why wouldn't I mind / Brushing off another engagement / To go wander around / The shallows of downtown."
Though he may characterize these wide-wandering poems as flitting in the shallows, it is the accumulation of these shallows, of various downtowns and what is thought and seen in them, that makes a depth of Integrity & Dramatic Life.
"I don't know what I say / & this has been pointed out to me" but in the process of reporting what many others say, and what he himself might say, provisionally, understatedly, dramatically, with integrity and irony and feeling and cities, friends, employers, nuclear war, drinks, chocolate donuts in vellum—all the detritus and necessity of an astute, young, urban, urbane, poetically driven life—Berrigan gives us a consummately delightful invitation. "Someone is at the door. Shall I ask them in?"
We are someone. We have been asked.