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poems, dedicated to the late Ray Carver, are love poems—unabashedly inti­ mate, swollen with memory and longing. On firstreading we are carried bytheir emotional urgency, participating with an almost voyeuristic empathy from the physical factness ofdeath “alone with the powerful raftof his body” (“Paradise”) to a philosophical serenity that embraces “the lightness, the necessary/discrep­ ancy of translation”of life into death in “Picking Bones.” But upon rereading, the poems seem to give less rather than more. The reader becomes aware of the poet’s discrepancies in translating her emotional fabric into language: pieces of many of the poems blur into vagueness and problematical ambiguities, approaching sense and implying contingencies that fall away. The poet seems to keep escaping through fanciful contraptions like the simile in “Reading the Waterfall”: So much of love is curved there where his pen bracketed the couplet mid-page, that my unused trousseau seems to beckon deeply like a forehead pressed into paradox by too much invitation. The folded trousseau beckoning is humorous, but the poem continues with dead earnestness. Certainly, the power of nuance (“There is that getting worse at saying/that comes from being understood/in nuance”) and the positive power of negation have become useful techniques for Gallagher. “Un Extrano,” a poem about taunting love as the bullfighter taunts death, ends: “My adorno, el novillito. Don’t/begin. Don’t ever begin.”The seductive “I Don’t Know You”closes with “Yes, let’s agree also/not to believe in the soul.”The poet knows the intricacies of the heart are studded with contradiction, paradox and ambiguity; a poet of stature and depth also navigates those complexities so the reader may follow and not get mired in the thick mist of “a secret like an echo/wrapped around a shadow,/a shadow soaked in love.”Tess Gallagher’s gift is a poetry of slippery dramatic range that deftly touches the nerves with spasms of recognition and turns up shimmering gems. But if Gallagher is the world-class poet the Acknowledgements page of Moon Crossing Bridge would seem to imply, we perhaps have a right to ask for more. SUZANNE SHANE Marietta, New York Reviews 87 Max Brand’sBestPoems: Versesfrom a MasterofPopularProse. Edited by Robert and Jane Easton. (Santa Barbara, California: Fithian Press, 1992.101 pages, $14.95.) FrederickFaust (1892-1944) alwayswanted to be remembered as a poet and several of the poems in this slight collection were published during his lifetime 88 WesternAmerican Literature in respectable journals. “The Secret” (1917) appeared in Century Magazine; “Lavia” (1935) came out in Argosy, and two volumes of verse, including The Village Street and Other Poems (Putnam’s 1922), were highly praised. “Only the Young Fear Death” (1933) was published in Harper’s and is one of his best: Only the young fear death. A god has crossed their path and they are sure Of happiness, if it would but endure . . . In most of his poetry there is a definite influence of the Greek and Roman poets, not only in theme, but in a rhyme scheme he devised based on the terza rima. He lived with his wife and children for manyyears in avilla near Florence, Italy, and while it is reported he could write a prose work in nine days, he would be nine months composing a classical verse. Faust is best known as Max Brand (he had fifteen pen names), writer of popular western fiction and creator of such immortal characters as Destry and Dr. Kildare. At the time of his death in 1944 (he was killed in action in Italy where he was serving as a war correspondent), he was carrying the manuscript of an unfinished epic dealing with Prometheus’theft of fire. During his lifetime he authored nearly 200 books, 210 magazine stories, movie scripts, and numerous essays. This collection of Faust’s poetry, compiled by his daughter, Jane, and son-in-law, Robert Easton, is published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. In one of his notebooks he wrote, “Prose is writing about life. Poetry is life.”He would have been pleased with this volume of his poetry for verse was the central love of his life. DORYS...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 87-88
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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