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Reviews 63 Robber’s Roost is rape. Grey explains in a letter to Dolly that he had had no idea that might have been the motivation and that he was now happy to have a chance to correct the “blunder.” In the published version of the novel, of course, the villain’s intent is still quite clear. Jackson has, however, suggested that Grey’s Darwinian philosophy can be seen developing in the novels, that Grey was important as a conservationist, and that, most importantly, Grey was sympathetic to the problems of the American Indian and, to some degree, of Blacks and Mexicans. These may be especially important areas of research for scholars who deal with the popular writings on the American West. The role that the popular writer plays in shaping the ideas of the readers of mass media is indeed important, and at least Zane Grey raises some questions. DELBERT E. WYLDER, Southwest Minnesota State College Headwaters. By Sid Marty. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1973. 110 pages, $4.95 hardbound.) Coyote Tantras. By Barry Gifford. (Santa Barbara, California: Christopher’s Books, 1973. 150 pages, $4.00.) These two collections of poetry have much in common besides superlative quality. Both poets have studied their teachers well, but have developed methods that are quite their own. They share a vision of the West: fear for what is being lost; hope in the lessons of mythic transcendence; and the value of precise knowledge gained through an open, holistic experience. Canadian poet Marty writes mostly of his experiences as a Park Warden in Alberta. The mood and voice of the first poem “Dawn. Jinglin Ponies” is sus­ tained throughout the collection: Get up in faint cold light take some oats in a feed bag coffee will be ready when I return mist rising on the Maligne river all the way to the last poem “Invitation and Covenants” : It was a night in October far up the Moosehom Valley Now it is the moon of frozen leaves You are alone (it is beginning to snow At their best, their most intense, Marty’s poems are direct — chiselled from the landscape as he participates in it. Located centrally in the collection, “The Fires” is one of Marty’s most ambitious and most powerful poems. Mostly, it is a direct account of fighting a sequence of three fires, each larger, more frightening than 64 Western American Literature its precursor. There is much to be learned here, as in most of Marty’s poems, simply from the details he presents. But there is also a depth of imagery/vision that reveals Marty’s sense of communion with this life: But we caught the fire with our hands one morning, when it was weak and strangled it or the closing lines of “Liturgy for a Dead Fuel Pump” : In the darkness, in the pulsing roar he leans over the naked engine Radiator blades whirl by his tired flesh Silver tools fill his searching hands. Marty uses his sense of humor with sharp effect in this collection. His exist­ ence with animals is one of respect and warmth, as well as a source for some very funny, though intense, instances. He converses with Wolf, Bear and Coyote as if with sages, or at least as if with peers. This attitude towards animals, especially Coyote as wise-one-trickster-mythmaker-who-gets-along-despite-us, is the taproot of Barry Gifford’s Coyote Tantras, and provides the clearest similarity between these two collections. Gifford’s work comes closer to being a sustained long poem than a collection of separate poems. Coyote is the unifying element, in the tradition of the trickster figure of American Indian tales. Unlike the immediate sense of place and time in Marty’s collection, Coyote Tantras is a synthesis of mythic experiences from several cultural sources: Traditional American Indian, Hinduist, Buddhist, JudeoChristian and Modem Western Technocratic. Coyote moves through and associates with representatives of all these cultures and times. Basically, Coyote is a mythic personality, as in Tantra XXV. Here the “Old Creator” brings Coyote, Mink and Raven to “his tipi in center of clouds” to assist him in planning the world. But after a...


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pp. 63-65
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