A review of
by D.A. Powell
D.A. Powell’s third book, Cocktails (think drinks, pills, cocks), does include some lines of terza rima, and its last word is stars, but I wish its promo copy didn’t announce the book “closes Powell’s contemporary Divine Comedy.” His books are anything but an update of Dante’s chaperoned trip heavenward; Powell invents and assembles from more ingredients than three familiar Italian tunes.
Cocktails resembles Tea (1998), Powell’s grieving-yet-hoping first book, more than the more playful Lunch (2000). Divided into “Mixology,” “Filmography,” and “Bibliography,” his third book’s drinks and films and biblios seep together, through each other, both in and out of their dedicated sections. The fourth line of the first Mixological poem ends with “plenty of chipped ice,” which is what Vivien Leigh, in the film version of Streetcar, tells sister Kim Hunter that her lemon Coke should contain. (Once upon a time, Tennessee Williams wrote a play that was made into a film scrubbed clean of the book’s queer subtext. And in this film there was a drink. And this drink traveled safely past the membrane separating books’ dangerous world and films’ safe one.)
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