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New Books - 05/00
Mark Strand and Eavan Boland have edited _The Making of a Poem_ ($27.50,
Norton), an anthology of poetic forms. There is a short definition and
history of each form, followed by samples. A close reading of one of the
examples closes out the section.
_Blessing the Boats_ ($15, BOA) is a collection of new and selected poems
from Lucille Clifton. Included are nineteen new poems, including pieces on
contemporary racial incidents and on her survival of cancer. There is also a
generous selection from her previous four books.
The late, visionary American poet Ronald Johnson's _To Do As Adam Did:
Selected Poems_ ($16.95, Talisman) gives a wonderful selection of his
remarkably tuned and quirky poems. Mr. Johnson wrote the respected and
challenging book-length poem "ARK," selections from which are gathered here,
but most of this book comes from prior collections and previously
_Unholy Sonnets_ ($13.95, Story Line) is Mark Jarman's follow-up to his
well-received _Questions for Ecclesiastes_. The jacket calls this
"devotional poetry.without assumptions about faith or shared belief." There
are more questions asked than one finds in easy "devotional" poetry, but
that the questions are asked, troubles addressed, and solutions sought,
deepens the sense of devotion.
_Musca Domestica_ by Christine Hume ($15, Beacon) was selected by Heather
McHugh for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. The book is filled with
image-laden poems by this nimble-minded writer.
Some of you may be familiar with the clerihew-a four-line form that offers
up a sometimes caustic biography of the famous (Auden was a master of it).
Henry Taylor adds to the tradition with _Brief Candles: 101 Clerihews_
($14.95, LSU), summing up folks from biblical personages to critics.