Cover image for Torque
Title:
Torque
Author:
Rivard, David, 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pittsburgh, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, [1988]

©1988
Physical Description:
11 unnumbered pages, 61 pages ; 22 cm.
General Note:
"1987 Agnes Lynch Starrett poetry prize": 2nd prelim. p.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780822954101

9780822935957
Format :
Book

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PS3568.I8285 T67 1988 Adult Mass Market Paperback Non-Fiction Area
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Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Rivard's is a no-holds-barred view of life on the graveyard shift with its punch-clock monotony. Poem after poem presents a blue-collar ambience, detailing not only the day-to-day grind that numbs those on the assembly line (Rivard's favorite figure for a contemporary Everyman), but also basketball games, fast cars, glue- sniffing teenagers, ambulance workers, dopers and pushers-- as well as fathers and mothers who care and wives who love. For in Rivard's universe, good does exist, if not in equal measure to evil, then at least in doses strong enough to make life bearable. But only just bearable. Rivard's narrator and the people he describes are, for the most part, stricken with a psychological paralysis. Not only are they going nowhere in their lives, they refuse to change. Tough in theme and technique, Rivard's poems illuminate the dark recesses of the human heart with grace, honesty, understanding, and even love. A rewarding first collection. JE.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Published in the Pitt Poetry Series, this winner of the 1987 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize is empowered by the vitality of its imagery and by the author's volatile, at times explosive, tone. Each poem tells a story, examining childhood memories, family relationships and the details of daily life by encapsulating moments and emotions. Combining the colloquial with the cerebral, the verses are replete with dramatic tension, which stems both from the bold use of language and from startling symbolism. In ``Late?'' for example, Rivard juxtaposes a bleak urban landscape with religious iconography to depict the corruption of ideals: ``And, on the corner variety / store's wall, a crude, sun-washed mural of the angel Gabriel / defaced by thick black sideburns so he looks like a street punk, / a strutting cholo, so he seems the only creature on earth / who hasn't heard the news that everything can be lost.'' Unfortunately, the author does not sustain an incisive, high-voltage quality throughout, and those poems wherein metaphor is subverted by idiom fall flat. He observes in ``The Temptations'': ``I'm far enough inside myself / that I am not myself. Not a man / who notices most what's missing. / And, Jesus, whatever is not mine, / or gone, or stolen from me, / sticks in my throat, / so I'm forced to always talk about it.'' On the whole, though, this collection marks the debut of a talent worth watching. (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

Rivard's is a no-holds-barred view of life on the graveyard shift with its punch-clock monotony. Poem after poem presents a blue-collar ambience, detailing not only the day-to-day grind that numbs those on the assembly line (Rivard's favorite figure for a contemporary Everyman), but also basketball games, fast cars, glue- sniffing teenagers, ambulance workers, dopers and pushers-- as well as fathers and mothers who care and wives who love. For in Rivard's universe, good does exist, if not in equal measure to evil, then at least in doses strong enough to make life bearable. But only just bearable. Rivard's narrator and the people he describes are, for the most part, stricken with a psychological paralysis. Not only are they going nowhere in their lives, they refuse to change. Tough in theme and technique, Rivard's poems illuminate the dark recesses of the human heart with grace, honesty, understanding, and even love. A rewarding first collection. JE.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Published in the Pitt Poetry Series, this winner of the 1987 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize is empowered by the vitality of its imagery and by the author's volatile, at times explosive, tone. Each poem tells a story, examining childhood memories, family relationships and the details of daily life by encapsulating moments and emotions. Combining the colloquial with the cerebral, the verses are replete with dramatic tension, which stems both from the bold use of language and from startling symbolism. In ``Late?'' for example, Rivard juxtaposes a bleak urban landscape with religious iconography to depict the corruption of ideals: ``And, on the corner variety / store's wall, a crude, sun-washed mural of the angel Gabriel / defaced by thick black sideburns so he looks like a street punk, / a strutting cholo, so he seems the only creature on earth / who hasn't heard the news that everything can be lost.'' Unfortunately, the author does not sustain an incisive, high-voltage quality throughout, and those poems wherein metaphor is subverted by idiom fall flat. He observes in ``The Temptations'': ``I'm far enough inside myself / that I am not myself. Not a man / who notices most what's missing. / And, Jesus, whatever is not mine, / or gone, or stolen from me, / sticks in my throat, / so I'm forced to always talk about it.'' On the whole, though, this collection marks the debut of a talent worth watching. (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved