Calvin Bedient's fourth collection, The Multiple, meets an unspeakably excessive reality with an unremitting intensity of its own. The "multiple" in question is the imbroglio of entwinements and failed copulas within us and all around us, the reality underlying and giving the lie to our stereotypes. Dazzlingly resourceful--witty, multi-tonal, musical, propositional, painterly--the poems thump the increasingly empty box of cultural goods, an inheritance that isn't really ours. We are left with a naked need for creativity in a cosmos whose gift of time is a gift of chaos. If in a universe that is "not-one . . . the rhapsodic is the avenue to the truth," as Alain Badiou says, the quality of the rhapsodic in The Multiple is as cacophonous and unforgiving as it is lyrical and hooked. The truth is extreme, this aggressively uncensored book says, as it battles to give equal power to a savage voice and a soaring voice. Strong in their invisible architecture, these are poems of wild openness and sheer aliveness.