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86 Western American Literature weariness / and love. I turn / for reassurance. Heart / bumps as we come / together, breathless / almost as this girl / arranging daisies in / my mind. I sleep / heavily, as God sleeps / who dreams us all.” Skelton’s approach to his poems is never programmatic. Sticking to the common tools of good writing, his primary concern appears to be a forthright, honest and direct treatment of his subject. He does not dabble in surrealism, he rarely assumes the public posture of the poet on the stage. There is a richness and a range to Skelton’s poems that is rapidly dis­ appearing in our culture as more and more poets imitate not the great masters of the past, but the current fads of the writing programs and reading circuits. One leaves Skelton’s Collected Shorter Poems feeling that, yes, this is a natural poet who combines a natural gift with a strong sense of discipline. And one hopes for a collected longer poems to follow, and perhaps even for a collected translations. For, as Skelton says in a poem to Robert Graves, “Poetry is studying / how the spirit soars / on learned as on simple / ignor­ ant things.” SAM HAMILL, Port Townsend, Washington Poems Old and New, 1918-1978. By Janet Lewis. (Chicago: Swallow/Ohio University Presses, 1981. 112 pages, $11.00.) While small presses have recently published old and new collections by Janet Lewis, respectively The Indians in the Woods (Matrix) and The Ancient Ones (No Dead Lines), and while Swallow has kept in print Poems 1924/1944, Lewis’s thirty-two-year-old collection, Poems Old and New, 19181978 is the most comprehensive and useful collection available by the Cali­ fornia poet, and consists of ninety-four poems arranged in chronological order and organized in four sections which correlate poems with the author’s residence. The Old in the title of Lewis’s latest book includes some of her finest poems, “Country Burial,” “Lines with a Gift of Herbs,” “The Hangar at Sunnyvale: 1937,” and “Helen Grown Old.” and comprises the first three sections of the volume. The New includes twenty-seven poems, all written between 1971-1978 in Los Altos, and makes up the fourth section. (Lewis includes no poems written between 1945-1970 in the collection.) Of her recent efforts, the most impressive — and likely of most interest to students of western poetry — is a group of seven southwestern poems. Previously pub­ lished in The Ancient Ones, these seven record the poet’s return on horse­ back to Keet Seel and on foot to Betatakin after a half-centurv absence. At these two Arizona sites, the ]x>et contemplates the lives of long-dead Native Americans, as in “The Ancient Ones: Betatakin” : Reviews 87 What words they spoke To echo here, to rise along the walls Of this steep canyon, Are gone; and yet the jay, The warbler speak their notes And the wind blows, whirling the aspen leaves, Brushing the thick short needles of these pines, And by the path The small flowers still are bright — and she realizes, transcendently, Time stays, the canyon stays; Their houses stay, split rock Mortared with clay, and small. And the shards, grey, plain or painted, In the pale roseate dust reveal, conceal The patterns of their days, Speak of the pure form of the shattered pot. Such poetry is impressively simple and complex. (Whose notes do the jay and warbler speak? How may houses split rock? How may clay mortar, in the sense of bombard?) In Forms of Discovery, Yvor Winters half-heartedly objected that selections in his wife’s Poems 1924/1944 were oftened weakened by domestic sentimentality; such sentimentality does not appear in the southwest works in Poems Old and New which, as the volume’s introducer, Helen Trimpi, notes, illustrate Janet Lewis’s return to the theme of American Indian consciousness found in her Ojibway poems of sixty years previous. TOM TRUSKY, Boise State University Ask Me Now. By A1 Young. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980. 294 pages, $11.95.) Is there life after basketball? Durwood “Woody” Knight, recently retired pro-basketball star with the Bay Area Beanstalks, doesn’t actually ask himself this question...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 86-87
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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