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Reviews 383 Our boat’swake foams white in tannic water black as coffee, the anaerobic home of black-backed salmon, fished out in a year pines record in strokes bolder than Christendom. (from “Gordon River, Western Tasmania”) The most difficult and emotionally complex poems of the book are those about the death ofromantic relationship—or rather, possibly, about its inescap­ able tragedies. I say this last thing because the tone in the poems is always less angry than it is resigned. Even in “Walking Away from a Woman”—where, in leaving, the man “raises his hand in a wave that is half / a salute, and less than she deserves”—the writer has found the means to not only accept the world again but, in a way, his lover’s betrayal. The balance the writer is seeking is a kind of carefulness, as in “Driving an Unfaithful Wife Home after Surgery”: Having been on the table, you know the body goes deeper than marrow. And driving now through the storm’s nerves, I am only one of many drivers, and we must all be such careful surgeons, pushing our bright headlights like scalpels into the dark body of rain. In other poems about close human relationship, and indeed throughout Shiesof Such Valuable Glass, we find this same emotional attention. It allows us to see beyond the weather. RICHARD ROBBINS Mankato, Minnesota Making Our Own Rules: New and Selected Poems. By Michael Hogan. (Greenfield Center, New York: The Greenfield Review Press, 1989. 66 pages, $9.95.) This new collection ofMichael Hogan’s poetry is divided into four sections, each focusing on movements in a life I assume to be Hogan’s. In the first section, “One Summer in Charleston,” the poet deals with a variety of issues, events, and memories, such as the trusting nature of the poet’s mother, his pity for a child who died too young, and his recognition of the beginnings of a deterioration in a significant relationship. In the second section, “From a Hospital Window,”we share in the poet’s pain over losses and changes in life, and we are given insight into the healing process he goes through. He suffers the breakup of a marriage; he worries about his relationship with his son and 384 WesternAmerican Literature with his own father; and he must deal with the loss of a grandfather he adores. In the third section, “The Broken Face of Summer,” we see a more mature understanding of life evolving as the poet confronts new relationships and sees things he has missed before. For example, in “Passing Through Virginia” he sees a young boy contemplating life, wishing for a life elsewhere that might he more glamorous. The poet knows that such glamour usually doesn’t exist someplace else, clearly the revelation of someone who has lived for a while. In the last section, “The Terrace, St. Tropez,” the poet appears to have achieved a certain peace with himself and life. He recognizes that where he is in life is not so bad, if he willjust let himself “fit”into it. Hogan’s poetry is accessible, but it does not give up all of its secrets easily, which affirms the work’s strength and quality. The superficial overview I have just provided of this book does not do justice to the fanciful imagery in poems like “The Terrace, St. Tropez” and “The Broken Face of Summer.” Also, I particularly like the prose poems, such as “The Tiger,” “Apostate,”and “Retain­ ing Wall,”which function as poems even though they are written as prose. Though Hogan has lived a good part of his adult life in the Southwest, the themes addressed in these poems are universal and not strictly western. Hogan’s vision will challenge readers from any region to think more carefully about life and their place in it. EDGAR H. THOMPSON Emory & Henry College The Pumpkin-Eaters. By Lois Braun. (Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1990. 264 pages, $12.95.) The setting for most of the stories in this collection—the small town of Silvercreek on the vast prairie of Manitoba—is a metaphor for entrapment, a place to escape from if one possibly can. Those who...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 383-384
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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