Inspired by the miraculously mercurial potential of words, Stephen Yenser takes readers on a heady trip through a world full of promise yet compromised by human weakness. Set in sunny southern California and Greece, the poems of Blue Guide cast the shadow of mortality, and the tones are elegiac. This combination of the deadly serious and the exuberant is natural, Yenser notes; after all, work and orgy share the same etymological root, as do travail and travel, pledge and play.
Using various poetic modes, Yenser offers here a quatrain written to name a painting by Dorothea Tanning; a sequence of poems for his daughter; an excursive poem at once about Los Angeles and Baghdad and his father and a petty criminal; a group of prose poems set in penumbral bars; some postcards to a dead friend; and a meditation prompted by a sojourn on a remote Aegean island. The most unexpected work is an assemblage of quotations and glosses in the tradition of the commonplace book, except that in Yenser's hands these entries are densely interrelated
"In his second collection, Yenser ranges widely over subject matter, from meditation s on the California landscape to a retreat in the Aegean. The poems are eclectic in form as well, including a ghazal and a series of elegiac valedictions. Readers encounter the work of a technical virtuoso . . . Attentive readers who have high expectations of contemporary poetry will find much to hold their interest."