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154 Western American Literature A Goldenrod Will Grow. By Freya Manford. (James D. Thueson, Publisher, Minneapolis), 1971, 63 pages, $4.00.) I like these poems. They are good on first reading and even better on second and third readings. As you read them to yourself, you hear someone talking to you, and it’s so intimate and revealing you would feel embarrassment if it were not for the image and form, for a quality that reminds you this ispoetryafter all, not something actual you are seeing and feeling. There is nothing remarkable about the subjects (nature, animals, child­ hood, a coke-date, maturation, neighbors, an old and haunting Indian on the sidewalk), but the language is so alive you feel more aliveyourself for having readit. This special life of Freya Manfred’s language hassomething to do with her ability to double the metaphor and yet writesentences of integrity, as seen especially in the first and fifth lines of thefollowing verse from a poem about a red mare: Damp and moaning in her throat She rises white and blue in dreams at night T o sway beneath me once more, T o mumble in my ear; She bugles to my sleeping body, Shakes me stiff and suddenly tense in bed. In “Rain Woman,” the poet imagines that if she walked in the rain at night “every wet leaf would/be joined greento my wetfingers.” The double picture of being “joined green” illustrates, I think, something basic in this poet’s vision: Freya Manfred goes inside nature—and experience— and becomes one with it. She is “joined green,” sometimes overtly, as when the "farmer’s dog shook mud” on three picnicing ladies, and “Animals in league, we laughed.” And so much in control is this metaphor of union that she can write of “sitting on the under side of a leaf all afternoon” and make it work, or write of a buffalo that “mumbled massive under the moon” and make the word massive seem to be verb and noun, adjective and adverb all at once. I like also the touches of humor (“They Were Talking”), the variety of form and subject, the ability to write with narrative as well as with imagery, and the presence of social awareness (“Old Indian”) in a poet so capable with childhood and nature. But one of the most impressive qualities, to me, is that this loving emersion into delicate beauty never falls into escapism. In­ stead, and with a coherence that is unnerving, this loving emersion is also the way to discover evil: Nothing I have done today Deserved this frog, this toad-dream; Nothing promised it to me. . . . So it is evil alone and Reviews 155 Born of no one— It makes itself. I recommend this book of poems by Freya Manfred, and I look for­ ward to the next one. M a x W e s t b r o o k , The University of Texas, Austin The Color of Dust. By Michael Anania. (Chicago: The Swallow Press, Inc., 1970. 70 pages, $5.; paperback $2.50.) Mountains in the Wind: An Anthology of Rocky Mountain Poets. Edited by L. W. Michaelson and G. B. Morgan. (Greeley: Pierian Press, 1970. 32 pages, $2.) Poetry North. Edited by Richard Lyons. (Fargo: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1970. 52 pages, $2.75.) The Color of Dust, Michael Anania’s first collection, evokes reality as fleeting idea or dream. Poetic apprehension rises out of sensation-association or personal recollection. Anania’s muted lines float on the page like disem­ bodied memory, like tacit exempla of those life-as-dream notions of Calderon, Poe, and the solipsistic Mark Twain. Selectivity and indirection rather than total recall shape Anania’s incremental fragments, which tend to frustrate interpretation. Precise images hover in a refined private texture. Sometimes the poet’s surrealistic effects are stunning, as in his longest poem, “The Fall” : “It is the inevitable order that destroys, the necessity of falling, river to river shore to shore, instinctively outstretched hands to the waiting ground.” But too often psychology overwhelms aesthetics, especially when Anania plants his cloudy ego in the soil of fact: “Do not allow the pre-Socratic to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 154-155
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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