Gil Orlovitz David Ignatow - Essay

David Ignatow

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

With Selected Poems Gil Orlovitz can be considered as one of the very few satirical poets in America today. The slashing attack, the verbal exuberance, the leaps and somersaults of his imagination are phenomenal. (p. 247)

A quick reading of [the long poem, "The Rooster,"] becomes a bewildering experience indeed. None of the parts seems to fit with any other, and the whole gives an impression of absolute wilful disorder. [Orlovitz] has learned from Joyce's stream of "unconsciousness", and, one would say, with disastrous results. Rereading the poem slowly, curious about the personality that fathered it, and from hints within the poem itself, assuming a not completely confused mind there, one begins to see among antiphonal lines and parts an intimate relationship ideographically directed and building to a self-contained visionary whole…. [It] becomes clear that we have, kaleidoscoped for pungency and tone, a devastating introductory comment on the cultural abyss into which Mr. Orlovitz believes we have fallen. He has juxtaposed the foibles of science, economics, politics, television, and love to arrive at an effect of total societal inanity; and we are not inclined to challenge it….

He ends free of the nightmare. In many poems he confesses under different disguises to his own guilt feelings. Nevertheless, he achieves a detachment working through the poem itself. Gil Orlovitz is an important satirical poet for our times, writing with all the gusto and drive of a man whose feelings are freed. (p. 248)

David I gnatow, "Engagements," in Poetry (© 1962 by The Modern Poetry Association; reprinted by permission of the Editor of Poetry), Vol. XCIX, No. 4, January, 1962, pp. 247-53.∗