A History of Small Life on a Windy Planet: Poems

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Collins's ( The Arrangement of Space ) stunning graphic poems achieve a perfect balance of the horrific and the playful. ``We bought the guns, our money / burned the crops. / (But hey, kids, we're still / your folks--we name our planes / for girls, our bombs for boys),'' she writes in one poem; another begins with the image of ``the friendly caboose'' passing through farmland and goes on to describe cattle cars carrying children to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. With a few deft strokes, Collins endows the merely topical (the Gulf War, the news story about a murdered woman whose intestines were torn out) with universal dimensions. Poems rewriting fairy tales are every bit the equal of similar efforts by Anne Sexton. The intensity of all of Collins's poems might be their most memorable quality, but such fervor could not be realized if she did not have impeccable facility with language. She delights in wordplay: ``The funeral march is a children's chant: /dum-dum-dum, he is dumb-and-done-and-gone.'' The volume's arrangement expertly juxtaposes related themes, resembling a focussed camera's panning, stopping now here, now there. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820315058
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 6/14/1993
  • Series: Contemporary Poetry Ser.
  • Pages: 80

Table of Contents

The Border 1
Background/Information 2
Testimony 4
Before the Planes 5
Dotted Line 6
Coast 8
A History of Small Life on a Windy Planet 10
Remember the Trains? 12
Little Boy 14
Ruins 16
News of the World 17
Her Mother Said 19
Slug 21
Cleft 22
Witness 23
Phase Three 24
In Black and White 26
Sleep, Baby, Sleep! 28
The Good Gray Wolf 30
Bodies 32
More 33
Conjugation 34
Them 35
Home Fires 36
Exposure 38
Owl 39
Wherever You Find It 41
Last Things 43
After 45
Mystery Rides 46
Hammers 49
Love Lettuce 51
Tree 53
Field 54
Down the Road 55
Mass 57
Wrapped 59
The Scribe, Distracted from Her Labors 61
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