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accidental. Both poets reteU bibUcal stories in a contemporary (though elevated) language, attempting to delineate through this retelling a cohesive, redemptive theology. The necessity of experience to Hinsey's theology, the idea that human salvation arises out of action—both these elements also have correlations in Blake. Structurally, the "Thirteen Aphorisms on the Nature of Evil" is certainly reminiscent of Blake's "Proverbs of Hell," and the various prose "Fragments" are simUar in both construct and theme to a number of Blake's prose passages as well. Hinsey's coUection is anything but derivative, however. Reclaiming one's soul is a central theme, but the path to this is very different than in Blake. The self-awareness that serves as the prerequisite to propermoral and ethical acts can only come through experiencing its opposite, for "only firsthand knowledge ofevU can transform meditation into action." The problem, according to Hinsey, ties in the temptation that evU represents, a temptation strengthened by the love evil "borrows from the heart." Indeed, whUe love, in aU its aspects, is a key element to salvation in Blake's work, Hinseysees itas, ifnotoutright deception , at best a tool inadequate to the task. Instead, we are to find ourselves in differentplaces: inNature's "miraculously " continuing patterns or internaUy , amidsttheelementswhich "beat true/Against the hard frame of the mind." Heady stuff. In some ways, this is more a phtiosophical text than a poetry coUection, yet these poems are written with such clarity and beauty that they transcend the subject matter , seeming to exist without time or place, eternal: prayer turned to music. (BM) A Drink with Shane MacGowan by Shane MacGowan and Victoria Mary Clarke Grove Press, 2001, 359 pp., $14 (paper) A true achievement and an almost unclassifiable book, A Drink with Shane MacGowan possesses a passion and an intelUgence one might assume would require a more literary approach than a series ofdrunken conversations between a pop star and his longtime girlfriend. Playing the role of moderator, Victoria Mary Clarke prods MacGowan on such subjects as the IRA, the great Irish poets, the Cathotic mass and MacGowan 's altogether unique self and lifestyle. Here is a man who drank stout at the age of five and actuaUy ate a vinyl record in a drug-induced state of psychosis. Utterly likable despite his egregiousquaUties ,MacGowan—besides being one of the finest songwriters of the past fifty years—is a riveting conversationalist, obsessing on one idea, then just as quickly tossing it aside for another. Some of his rants (that murder is art, the catechism a great and necessary staple of religious propaganda and Yeats a faUed Irish poet) come off as those of a man, a bloke, as MacGowan would say, simply taking the piss. Yet he is, for aU of the talent he has supposedly wasted, hüarious. The book is divided into eight "acts," which Clarke sets up with brief introductions , though she mostly stays out of the way. Occasionally she stops 194 · The Missouri Review MacGowan to inform him that he is dripping snot aU over himself, which he doesn't seem to mind. Appended to the conversations are MacGowan's "Unconditional Apology ," which includes the lines, "When I spewed this stuff I was a stranger in my own soul," along with a declaration of unconditional love for everyone he has thoroughly slandered and whom he believes he will see at the gates of hell. A genuine one-off. (CF) The Phantom Limbs ofthe Rollow Sisters by Timothy Schaffert BlueHen Books, 2002, 50 pp., $23.95 You might expect two sisters named LUy and Mabel RoUow who live in their own antique store in rural Nebraska to be a pair of whitehaired biddies harping and screeching at each other. But the Lily and Mabel in Timothy Schaffert's debut novel, The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters, are twenty-somethings who toss around four-letter words, fight over the same boy, drink cheap booze and generaUy do their best to exorcise the demons of their past—namely, their father's suicide and their mother's subsequent abandonment . Two young girls with old-fashioned names incongruously placed in a house cluttered with antiques . . . the fact that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 194-195
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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