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Reviews 153 Andrew Wreggitt writes from more ofa distance than Moure but is equally good at capturing the details that give a scene radiance. Aside from Tom Wayman, his is the most confident and accurately descriptive poetry in this book. And although Wayman is, for the most part, well represented (most notably by the previously discussed "Mike"), Wreggitt's poems seem better crafted, more arresting. "Fairview Floats" describes the beginning of a workday , a day without work for several men who arrive at the docks in Prince Rupert looking for jobs on the fishing boats. It is a heartbreaking poem that never steps out of itself for our attention: Morning begins slowly here A yawn of light stretches out of the mountains and creeps Uke a stain across the sky Fishing boats bump against the dock as a knot of men wait, hands in pockets in the smell of fish and gasoline. The poem connects a single scene to a larger framework by isolating the ache of faces without work. Like the men themselves it doesn't strain to state its case, and the ending escapes cUcheby suggesting a horrible possibility: that the scene itself, because ofits familiarity, has taken on the characteristic of a cliché: Like the morning, they have been everywhere first They arrive tired and hungry, men who have never been on a boat ask for jobs they know they won't get Holding their pride like a last dull coin in the deep fold of a pocket Greylight climbs the rocky shoreline as the men stamp their feet and cough, their faces grim and determined This is the end of the road and they will not go back Shop Talk contains several poems as fine as "Fairview Floats" and "Broadview"; David R. Conn, Glen Downie, Kirsten Emmott, Phil HaU, Zoe Landale, Tom Wayman, and Calvin Wharton are all capable of very good work. There are also quite a few clunkers and many near misses. But what gives this anthology its urgency is the truthful conviction reflected in the work as a whole. The collection sets out to celebrate "work-related material" and does a great job of it. It also validates this kind of poetry by showing that a common ground exists for well-crafted art and poetry of the workplace. JAMES HARMS Emily Dickinson by Cynthia Griffin Wolff. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987. pp. 641. $25.00 (cloth). The title of Cynthia Griffin Wolffs interpretative biography, Emily Dickinson, projects an all-encompassing totality, reflecting, quite accurately, the overwhelming impression left on a reader that everything worth speaking about Dickinson has found voice in this text. Wolffs impressive knowledge of her subject and her ability to organize her extensive research into a clear presentation, as accessible to non-academic readers as it is challenging to Dickinson 154 the minnesota review scholars, enforces such judgments. However, this sense of integrated wholeness derives most of its force from the structure of Emily Dickinson. In the four chapters of Part One, Wolff concentrates on biography, on the "famUy and environment and culture" which "shaped" the poet's thoughts, defined the "options available to her" (168) and provided the language tools for her subsequent vocation. Part Two, an "Interlude," uses the psycho-sociological conclusions reached in the biographical section to posit the "correct context" (142) not only for Dickinson's poetry, but also for critical approaches to the poems. Before confronting the poetic texts in Parts Three and Four, Wolff announces her shift from biography, from a study of the woman Emily Dickinson, to a study of the Poet, the "Voice of the verse" (168). Shifting from chronological study, Part Three, "Pugihst and Poet," analyzes Dickinson 's aesthetics in three chapters titled "The Voice," "The Wrestle for Dominion: God's 'Supernatural' Redefined," and "Love and Love Poetry." Part Four, "The Razor's Edge," examines some "Specimen Poems" to emphasize the deconstructive features and existential consequences of the poet's attack, as craftsperson, on the absolute Creator. But Part Five makes an unexplained return to chronology, connecting successive developments in thepoetry to the author's personal intellectual growth. Bringing the structure full circle, Wolff closes the text with Part Six...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 153-156
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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