Sleepwalker's Fate: New and Selected Poems 1965–1991

Sleepwalker's Fate: New and Selected Poems 1965–1991

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Author: Tom Clark

Publisher: Black Sparrow Press (1992)

Selected work from Tom Clark’s first quarter century of writing, from songs of innocence published when he was twenty-five (”Lake Life, I want to take a bath / In you and forget death”) to lines reflecting the disappointments and compromises of middle age (”While everything external / dies away in the far off / echo of the soul / still there's a mill wheel turning / . . . / by some distant stream / a note of peace / in a life which / will never be peaceful”).

The book is divided into two parts: the generous ”New Poems, 1986–1991,” which collects recent lyrics mourning the passing of time, the trials of insomnia, the sad politics of poetry, and the sadder poetry of politics; and ”Dark Continent, 1965–1986,” Clark's judicious winnowing of his earlier work (on love, baseball, classicism, jazz, physics, trout kills, popular culture, and Catholic-Zen-antinomian mysticism). Between the two comes a ferocious prose poem, ”Diary of Desert War, 1990–1991,” written in the terse, telegraphic style of the Times Square news zipper––that is, of a news zipper in the hands of a surrealist op-ed poet.