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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 in just these words, but the subject matter of A1 Young’s novel seems to rebound with it in all that the protagonist does and is con­ fronted with during a crucial month or so of his life. The period from Thanksgiving to Christmas, an interval fraught with minor crises, becomes for Durwood a time of mounting dread, of fear and trembling for what his new life will be and mean. It is at this time that Durwood discovers that his crisis entails learning to be a full-time father, husband, business partner and ordinary citizen who is supposed to do all the things most of us seem to 88 Western American Literature take for granted as we make our way through life. For nineteen years as a pro-baller, nearly everything had been done for him. Decisions about travel, meals, lodging — all had been arranged for him by the teams he played for — and now he is faced with the task of reintegrating himself with his family: his wife, Dixie, who is tart and complaining and vaguely dissatisfied with her life; a son by another marriage, Leon, a successful jazz musician from whom Durwood has been alienated for most of the young man’s life; two daughters, Celia, a rebellious and creative teenager, and Nissa, a pre-teen who is almost a stranger to Durwood. Ask Me Now is a good, well-written novel told at a relaxed and leisurely pace. As in his previous novels, particularly in Sitting Pretty and Who is Angelina?, Young’s special talent is for vivid characterization and finely realized dialogue. The plot of the novel becomes secondary to the myriad tiny plots that unfold in each scene as characters are continually refined and delineated more by what they say than by what they do. Durwood Knight is closely akin to Sidney J. “Sitting Pretty” Prettymon and Angelina Creen. All throughout the novels in which they appear, they are in the process of learning, and the reader is generally always surprised by the little revelations they make about themselves, even in the novels’last pages, which keep adding dimension to them as realistic characters. In one of the last scenes in Ask Me Now, Durwood is being interviewed by a free-lance writer and part-time bartender. Durwood talks about what he’s learned in his years as a pro ball­ player: “. . . On the pro scene, you’ve got a game going within a game — a play within a play, I guess you might say — and it boils down to this . . . and this is what I’ve learned. . . . Any job you accept brings you a regular pay check, you live with that job and you think about it. You figure...


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pp. 87-88
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