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84 WesternAmerican Literature least heard, and it is to be hoped that the editors at Entrada will continue to look for similarly fresh voices, notjust new ones. GEORGE SEBASTIAN-COLEMAN University ofNotreDame The Trouble With Dreams. By Vess Quinlan. (Ketchum, Idaho: Wind Vein Press, 1990. Unpaginated, $6.00.) Place ofDisappearance. By William Hoagland. (Saratoga, Wyoming: The Willow Bee, 1990. 33 pages, $3.50.) What makes a poem? What is poetry? Even poets have difficulty defining the essence, the mysterious link between language and intuition that is the hallmark ofgood poetry. The absenceof this mystery, however, is easy to spot and is what sets would-be poets apart from true artists. This absence is precisely the problem with many of Vess Quinlan’s poems, some of which would have made good essays or slice-of-life vignettes, but which are lacking that leap into the subconscious, that clarification of one mystery by the introduction of another. Quinlan knows his territory: the cattle industry, the small towns, the history. He loves it all. And he can write, but it isn’tenough to writewords in stanzas and call the result “poetry.” Certainly some of the poems succeed, but whether by accident or design is unclear, and only when Quinlan lets the poem speak without interjecting himself or clarifying by stating an opinion. On the other hand William Hoagland, in Place ofDisappearance, sees the world with the awareness of a mystic and writes lyrically about both the beauty and violence in nature. He, too, knows his country—Montana and Wyoming— but the difference is that he does not makea poem so much as give it permission to happen. There is, throughout this small book, a touch of Oriental sparsity, a paring down of language, so that the final image—the world shown to us in a new and different perspective—vibrates in the mind long after the book is finished. These poems are haunting. We need more poets like Hoagland. JANE CANDIA COLEMAN Rodeo, New Mexico Silverstar. By George Silverstar. (Port Townsend, Washington: Sagittarius Press, 1992, 90 pages, $5.00.) The poetry of George Silverstar possesses sound and imagery so naturally authentic it nearly camouflages the wresding of the fragile man beneath, who Reviews 85 took his own life in 1984. A part of this fragility emanates from Silverstar’s Yakima Indian heritage manifested at different levels throughout this collection which is thoughtfully edited into sections, different facets of his life. Because he was an accomplished man of letters offering a rare introspection in terms of his natural surroundings, this is a valuable work depicting the contrast of cultures, the irresolute dichotomy of “oneness” and “separateness” with extraordinary depth at the ultimate levels. My first reading of Silverstarwas tortured, for he explores those regions to which most writers can only allude with such gut-wrenching thoroughness that the synapses between stanzas are necessary pauses to catch your breath. How­ ever, after successive readings over a period of time, his ironic humor prevails in almost every case, making each selected poem, many of which are untitled, welcome blazes along the trail for future explorers. For example, in “The War: July 5,”we read: In the democratized west the power drones on and on. Land of edicts and the practical way to remove clear water and leave solid ground where swimmers intertwined and laughed and dove and the innocents were least afraid. Silverstar likens love to a “demolition derby/where former wrecks try/for meaningful contact”or “the grinding of ice/or the shuddering of branches/in a steady wind./Again and again the same, soft cries.”Additionally, he offers his childhood, his love lost and his love regained in the innocence of his daughter, to whose education any profits of this collection will be kept in trust. Initial funding for this publication was by the Port Townsend Art Guild and friends of the Olympic Peninsula community. I found most every piece like the caterpillars in the last stanza of “Fall”: Golden caterpillars hustle crossing the blacktop and are caught by school children in whose pockets they pupate. In mid-winter a butterfly is found trembling in the draperies. JOHN C. DOFFLEMYER Dry Crik Press ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 84-85
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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