Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sensational Spectacular in Brooklyn Rail

Nate Pritts, Sensational Spectacular
(Blaze VOX, 2007)
Ah, to be young and full of energy, as “feet barely touch/ the ground… running straight out.” Nate Pritts writes like a receiver barreling down the field to catch the long bomb. He’s a conquistador in a funhouse. He’s out to explore the universe and carry on. The collection begins with a quote by Kenneth Koch who “never mentioned… friends” and then presents 24 catchy poems about friends. Trips, games and conversations shift from quirky patter to philosophical dictums. Grand ideas evolve from communal pursuits.
In “Outcasts of Infinity” Pritts notes “whenever one… gets down in the dumps/ it’s up to the rest of us to come to the rescue.”

The next section, called “Big Crisis,” shows Pritts to be a metaphorical metaphysicist (think of John Donne). He starts with implausible images and turns them into elegant equations. “Each thought in my head is a missile/ … and each thought chunk is an explosion of me.” Several thoughts and “Booms” later, and Pritts has reinvented an amorous entreaty.

Prefacing the last section, “The Brave and the Bold,” Pritts cites Coleridge: “Well they are gone, and here I must remain.” Yet he returns to the shorter friend poems. The only problem with this book is the repetition. Too many friends and fast feet.