These poems feel like poetry of a certain clear questioning existensial mind. They are precise and colored brightly. But after having read a long prose work of Auster's not long ago, I found them diminished things, not capable of giving anything like the context and complexity his prose can.
This too is a matter of understandibility. The language of prose we are told gives a clear surface meaning. The language of poetry is more resistant to this. And more the prose builds a narrative, and brings us characters and situations. The voice of the prose I am thinking of, 'The Brooklyn Follies' was clear and well- defined.
Here the abstract impersonal voice means we never quite know where we. Auster can make poetry of abstraction but the message tends to be one more of the no, no, nothing of things rather than their fullness in being. Nonetheless whether it is in finding 'consolation in colors' or in trying to remember himself ( lost in the wide world/ within me, and thereby to have known/ that in spite of myself / I am here. / As if this were the world..."
or in 'Facing the Music'
"where the air and earth erupt
in this profusion of chance, the random
forces of our own lack
of knowing what it is
we see, and merely to speak of it
is to see
how words fail us,how nothing comes right
in the saying of it, not even these words
I am moved to speak
in the name of this blue
that vanish into the air
to hear it anymore. The tongue
is forever taking us away
from where we are, and nowhere
can we be at rest
in the things we are given
to see, for each word
is an elsewhere, a thing that moves
more quickly than the eye, even
as this sparrow moves, veering
into the air
in which it has no home. I believe, then
these words might give you, and still
I can feel them
speaking through me.."
Auster defines a voice of his own wondering seeing and feeling, a voice which can too awaken the reader to some sense of the ' dearest freshness deep down things' sometimes.