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Reviews 381 are under this land, like shovels.”Shaky ground indeed. The national politics in “Grounds”make another turn. Let’s hear (you and I) what is troubling Alberta farmers because the Toronto newspapers and bankers swamped by a “big bang in finance”do not hear, or hold. “Grounds”gives the book a symmetry which a “Postscriptum”on asymmetry turns over (twice). Noble’s is a poetry of space in which “the farmsteads drift apart / in the winter like icebergs.”At times he breaks words into the surrounding space; the text moves on the vertical, horizontal, oblique. This move pushes the literal into the letteral, a “my/th/ought-ical doub t”about the referentiality ofwords being the motive. Since space is the very stuff of the poem, I wish the publisher had chosen a different font ( “I”and “1”tend to blur) and had designed the pages to allow for easier movement through the book. But, despite some heavy patches, Let’s HearIt deserves a wide reading and careful hearing. BIRKSPROXTON RedDeer College Blue Autumn. By Christopher Buckley (Providence: Copper Beech Press, 1990. 71 pages, $9.95.) Christopher Buckley’s twenty-four contemplative poems are bound to­ gether by device and spirit. The devices are obvious: four sections of six poems each, all introspective essays, most in graceful 8-12 syllable lines that participate in English tradition without hint of the metronome. Buckley quietly controls the pace of thought with stanza patterns, ambiguous enjambments, and caesu­ ras that cut against the grain. Across this texture, the poems evolve like clouds. “Clouds in Summer” floats in three-stanza clusters ofthree-line stanzas across the page; “On the Eiffel Tower”is tall and tapering. There are long lines, short lines, and quatrains, but mostly discursive verse paragraphs reminiscent ofWordsworth, this collection’s remote father. Something is always moving here, though its character remains somehow and quietly the same. The unifying image appears on the cover, a skyof moving clouds. The word cloudis in nearly every poem ofthe collection. Again and again, the poet gazes at the sky, or he sees in metaphors of heavenly motion. His mother “drifts about the stove and is herself a warm and lilac cloud / dusted with flour.” A Greek hotel’swalls are “thick as clouds,”or a childhood school yard a cloud “so dense/ I went ahead on rote.” There is mist, spray, the Milky Way. Clouds, always the same, always changing, center contemplations of consistency in change, recol­ lection and rebirth, preoccupations of middle age. A biographical thread, almost a story, runs through the book. The first 382 WesternAmerican Literature poem is a dream of childhood return, and the first half of the book relives origins: a West Virginia town where his mother washed clothes “all day/in steamy clouds,” migration to California, school days with fiestas, Latin and catechism classes, football. Buckley heightens pedestrian detail to symbolism. Gradually, childhood fades, and Buckley finds himself an educated Everyman aging among old friends, traveling Europe, contemplating art and ideas, asking clouds of memories and intuitions for answers, hearing some. WILLIAM H. GREEN Chattahoochee Valley State College Skies ofSuch Valuable Glass. By Art Homer. (Seattle: Owl Creek Press, 1990. 64 pages, $9.00.) The poems in this collection are all, finally, about intimacy. The traveler finds in the names of new places and things a way of closing on them. The rememberer rediscovers the birthplace offeeling. The lover, even when it’s the body ofbetrayal he’sexamining, finds a pain truer than the selfish or sentimen­ tal—even a place for compassion. Triggered by Charles Darwin’s accounts of his voyage on the Beagle, “Vision for a Wrong Century”reinvents an uncertain world between theories: They kill, they smile and eat. Science isn’t sure. Is it not true all heretics are Turks? Witness the beards of sailors aboard their ship. Not only do their bishops marry, but this one leaves his housekeeper (really a simple, candid girl) bad Spanish and instructions: Doyoufeed these caterpillars every day that they might turn to butterflies. Surely some great evil is abroad. The padres must meet with the governor, the man be arrested upon return. On his own faraway voyage...


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pp. 381-382
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