Kinzie ( The Threshold of the Year ) virtually offers two books in this ample collection. The poems in the first half, ``Seasons of Vietnam,'' are propelled by confident rhythms and her striking persona, the girlfriend of a naval officer who refused to serve in Vietnam. Descriptions of their relationship alternate with glimpses of Portsmouth, N. H., where he has been imprisoned; by turns lyrical and prosaic, the intensity of Kinzie's language sustains her theme even through the section's weaker efforts. The volume's second half, ``Masked Women,'' is less specific in its referents. ``He thrust aside her clothing. / He opened up her flesh, / Broke the nearby mirrors / And shattered all the glass,'' begins ``Modern Love.'' Kinzie gracefully alludes to literature and art, adding a signature eloquence to the formal structures here. (Jan.)
Kinzie's poetry displays the learned allusiveness, formal structures, and imagistic density one associates with American academic verse of the mid-1950s. References to the Classics, painters, and foreign films abound, and in ``The Chanticleer'' the poet actually attempts to fuse memories of Count Basie with bits of Chaucer. Though individual lines can achieve a crystalline precision (``the landscape clear and miniature/ Like painting done on china''), more often the effect is somewhat thick and distant (``transitory emanations/ Precipitated from the laden sky as from excess of charge''). Even the Vietnam of the title is less a place, an event, a catalyst, than an evocation of a murky, dreamlike emotional state from which the narrator seems unable to awaken.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.