Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler: Poems

Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler: Poems

by Thylias Moss
     
 

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The latest volume of this dazzling poet's work, urgent poems in which words, images, ideas, music, and feelings are pushed to their ultimate capacity. Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; a Village Voice Favorite Book of 1998. The latest volume of this important and highly original poet's work is a three-part journey into the pathology of human… See more details below

Overview

The latest volume of this dazzling poet's work, urgent poems in which words, images, ideas, music, and feelings are pushed to their ultimate capacity. Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; a Village Voice Favorite Book of 1998. The latest volume of this important and highly original poet's work is a three-part journey into the pathology of human emotions. In a cascade of language-ordinary speech, preaching, song, banter, erudition-all that is good spirals into regions of horror and grotesque inconsistency with consequences as contemporary as headlines and as eternal as myth. Intense and brilliantly sustained, these poems limn the humane being tested, the plunge into strangeness, and finally recovery, the salvaging of wonder after all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With titles like "Ode to the Cat-Headed Consort in a Painting by Bosch" or "Splitting a Double Life," the poems of Moss's finely wrought sixth collection immediately draw us in for a closer look. Moss pulls no punches in giving voice to progenitive biblical myth ("Did Hagar not have Abram eating from her hands as well as from her thighs?") or, chillingly, to Dr. James Marion Sims's gynecological observations of 1845. Throughout, Moss meditates, starkly and unsentimentally, on death and motherhood, on God, and, beneath them all, on sex and power, as in "Heads": "John's head arrives on a platter, knife/ and fork come later, in a civilized moment/ when the kiss tastes funny, when she sucks/ the lips so white she is sure it is talent." Media-swollen cultural debris like Susan Smith's cold-blooded murder of her two sons or the tragedy of recent African American church fires are made to yield their moral crux: "Since fire is power" she concludes of the torchings, "both the supreme good and supreme evil are entitled/ to it." If Moss has largely replaced the more personal voice of books like Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky (1991), she has here removed to more difficult, more powerful ground. (Mar.) FYI: Moss, a 1996 MacArthur Fellow, has a memoir, Tale of a Sky-Blue Dress, forthcoming from Avon in August. (PW best book of 1998)
Library Journal
For all its references to Scripture and its fervent evocations of religious symbols and rituals, Moss's sixth collection is a massive, acid-edged tribute to mortality in all of its contradictions and wrenching ironies. In a series of dense, page-wide meditations, Moss uses poetry "to finish knowing herself/ in time to begin to know something else." No sensitive subject resists her scrutiny, from the sexuality of motherhood ("A group of lactating women assemble in a suburban park, get high together as their babies nurse") to racial identity ("Must we clamor to descend from queens more notorious than gracious?") to faith in salvation ("lucky Lazarus; alive/ to fear God again"). But most striking is her sense of spirituality tossing restlessly within the agonized, blood-and-guts existence of its human hosts, refusing to be domesticated or defined by metaphor and idealization. Loquacious and impassioned, precise and ragged, willing to risk even boredom in its drive to get at the heart of humanity's conflicted, necessary obsessions, Moss's voice finds a pitch of uncommon empathy and strength.Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892552436
Publisher:
Persea Books
Publication date:
10/15/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
7.09(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.35(d)

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