Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Book Review Index.

The Cosmic I

Present Company by W. S. Merwin
Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2005.
140 Pages. $22.00 cloth. ISBN 1556592272.

Mere months after Copper Canyon Press has released Migration, W. S. Merwin's selected poems (and recent winner of the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry), the volume is incomplete.... [Go to Review>>>] [Go to full Poetry Review Index>>>]

Whittling Away at the Beast.
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Superpatriotism by Michael Parenti.
San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 2004.
168 pp. $11.95 paper. ISBN 0-87286-433-2.

In the realm of American dissident politics, Michael Parenti is a man with shining credentials. He marched, and participated in more pointed protests, in the 60s and 70s. His rap-sheet shows the scars of the experience.... [
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Dueling Mythologies
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidation Coal Company 1910-1945 by Geoffrey L. Buckley.
Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004. xxiv+216 pp.
$46.95 cloth. ISBN 0-8214-1555-7. $22.95 paper. ISBN 0-8214-1556-5.

Some ninety black and white photographs, chosen from the Consolidation collection, are reproduced as the subject of Dr. Buckley's examination.... [
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The Citizen Strikes Back!
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Citizens of the Empire: the Struggle
to Claim Our Humanity
by Robert Jensen.
San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 2004.
XXVIII + 144 pp. $11.95 paper. ISBN 0-87286-432-4.

There are more protest marches today than at any time since the late 1960s. The war in Iraq has been protested against by millions. The WTO chooses the prospective sites of its meetings first assessing how they will serve to reduce the effect of the protests that are certain to occur in parallel with its deliberations. Grocery store workers of the
Union of Food and Commercial Workers struck during the past year, in southern California, and marched in protest for months before coming to an accommodation with storeowners.

The marches themselves are the result of major behind-the-scenes organizing efforts. It might be fair to say that the logistics of organizing have been mastered by a wide range of groups. The Internet has facilitated much of the effort.... [
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Sex Trek: the Next Generation.
by Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Sex Carnival by Bill Brownstein.
Toronto: ECW Press, 2000
250 pages. $22.95 Can, $18.95 US.
ISBN 1-55022-415-8.

Two factors changed our relationship to sex in the past century. The first was the introduction of cheap, effective birth-control. The second, market capitalism, has become the unchallenged law of the jungle.... [Go to the review>>>]

True Stone and Epitaph: the Poetry of Pablo Neruda.
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, Mark Eisner, Ed.
San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 2004. 222 pages
ISBN 0-87286-428-6

The year 2004 is the centennial of the birth of the poet Pablo Neruda. As a result, the already considerable amount of work published annually by and about the poet has increased exponentially. City Lights' 100th birthday gift is The Essential Neruda, a selection of poems, edited by Mark Eisner, a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center for Latin American Studies. [
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Pierce Butler, Fanny Kemble, et al.
by Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

The Weeping Time: Elegy in Three Voices by Christopher Conlon.
Washington, D.C.: Argonne House Press, 2004.
138 pp. $19.95 paper. ISBN 1-887641-18-1.

In March of 1859, Pierce Butler, a Philadelphian, wealthy by virtue of two plantations in Georgia, auctioned some 430 of his slaves in one of the largest such sales in American history. That auction became known as 'The Weeping Time'. The poet Christopher Conlon memorializes that day with a book of poems bearing the same name. Butler is of further historical interest by virtue of his rocky marriage to the famous English actress, Fanny Kemble,... [
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A Word Association Test
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Words Brushed by Music ed. by John T. Irwin.
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
200 pp. $12.95 paper. ISBN 0-8018-8029-7. $27.50
hardcover. ISBN 0-8018-8028-9.

In 1979, while the poetry world as a whole was marching with ever greater determination towards quote-unquote free verse and one or another variation of anti-poetry, Johns Hopkins University Press staked out its own territory. Its new Poetry Series would provide a haven for poets who had chosen to write the only truly alternative poetry that remained: a poetry which stayed connected to the tradition of the craft.... [
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The Eye of the Beholder
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

eye: poems and retina prints
by Elizabeth Goldring.
Kansas City: BkMk Press, 2002.
ISBN 1-886157-37-5. $15.95

The Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS, for short) is a remarkable place. Founded in 1967 by Gyorgy Kepes (whom Goldring cites as a profound influence on her work), it is dedicated to exploring the compatibility of science and art. The idea is to create art. The associated degree work is in science. [
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Note: The links in this essay/review are designed to provide a slideshow to accompany the text.

...how different the world has become.
by Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Mortal Arguments by Sue Sinclair.
London, Ontario: Brick Books, 2003.
96 pages $15.00 ISBN 1-894078-29-2.

Secrets of Weather and Hope by Sue Sinclair
London, Ontario: Brick Books, 2001.
86 pages $14.00 ISBN 1-894078-15-2.

In November of 1920, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to the Princess Maria von Thurn und Taxis-Hohenlohe, from Schloss Berg, Switzerland, of his unexpected good fortune:

I live alone in the solid, centuries-old stone house, alone with a housekeeper who cares for me as silently as I silently let myself be cared for; a deserted park opening on the quiet landscape, no railway station in the neighborhood and for the present, furthermore, a lot of roads closed on account of foot-and-mouth disease -- donc, retraite absolue [thus, a perfect retreat]. [1] ... [
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Off-Site Reviews:

Fruitful Clutter
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

In the Dark by Ruth Stone.
Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2004.
128 pages pp. $22.00 paper. ISBN 1-55659-210-8.

After her husband committed suicide in 1959, Ruth Stone moved into the house they had just purchased in Goshen, Vermont. It had been intended as a sanctuary in which the two would find the peace and serenity to write, a place to get away from the New York literary scene. She brought up their three daughters there. Some 46 years later she remains in the house, nearly deaf and all but blind. [
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