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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, Homer’s dense style and language create the back-and-forth, subject-to-object motion that, in the course of this poem and several others, erases the illusion of separation: Rainforest gives so much away that lakes cannot hold the purchase tourists need to fulfill their terrible desire. Along the Gordon, huron pine grows left-handed for a thousand years so that I may hold this lathed bowl, amber glazed by a decade’s translucent weather. Reviews 383 Our boat’swake foams white in tannic water black as coffee, the anaerobic home of black-backed salmon, fished out in a year pines record in strokes bolder than Christendom. (from “Gordon River, Western Tasmania”) The most difficult and emotionally complex poems of the book are those about the death ofromantic relationship—or rather, possibly, about its inescap­ able tragedies. I say this last thing because the tone in the poems is always less angry than it is resigned. Even in “Walking Away from a Woman”—where, in leaving, the man “raises his hand in a wave that is half / a salute, and less than she deserves”—the writer has found the means to not only accept the world again but, in a way, his lover’s betrayal. The balance the writer is seeking is a kind of carefulness, as in “Driving an Unfaithful Wife Home after Surgery”: Having been on the table, you know the body goes deeper than marrow. And driving now through the storm’s nerves, I am only one of many drivers, and we must all be such careful surgeons, pushing our bright headlights like scalpels into the dark body of rain. In other poems about close human relationship, and indeed throughout Shiesof Such Valuable Glass, we find this same emotional attention. It allows us to see beyond the weather. RICHARD ROBBINS Mankato, Minnesota Making Our Own Rules: New and Selected Poems. By Michael Hogan. (Greenfield Center, New York: The Greenfield Review Press, 1989. 66 pages, $9.95.) This new collection ofMichael Hogan’s poetry is divided into four sections, each focusing on movements in a life I assume to be Hogan’s. In the first section, “One Summer in Charleston,” the poet deals with a variety of issues, events, and memories, such as the trusting nature of the poet’s mother, his pity for a child who died too young, and his recognition of the beginnings of a deterioration in a significant relationship. In the second section, “From a Hospital Window,”we share in the poet’s pain over losses and changes in life, and we are given insight...


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pp. 382-383
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