Lessons in Soaring

Lessons in Soaring

by James Applewhite

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Time and renewal wrestle / In my body,'' writes Applewhite ( Foreseeing the Journey ), and this volume takes that struggle as its subject. Both nostalgia and rage accompany a return to a childhood home; a flying lesson awakens a sense of liberation and a terror of death. Some works succeed wholly, with lines of arresting beauty: ``Help me father, I say as in prayer, to hear / A son's new testament, fairer writ.'' Applewhite uses off-rhyme perceptively, and his language varies from sparse assertions to dense description--but these techniques do not compensate for evasiveness. A poem about a father does not fully address the feelings of the son; a delicate discussion of the heart that juxtaposes cardiology and love fails to twine these two threads. In other works, the problems are more basic: characters, locale and action are obscured to no apparent end; the language is nonspecific (``The landscape moving itself becomes the source / Of my being''), overstated or cliched, or reverts to a personal, hermetic shorthand. (May)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In these poems Applewhite struggles to come to terms with memories of his family--especially the father who dominates these poems--with his Southern heritage, and with what both have made of him--and he of them. As he says, ``I heal the past as I can.'' Poems like ``Good as Dad,'' ``Back Then,'' and ``Working Around the Grease Rack'' employ a folksy good-old-boy diction that rings true and renders the emotions of the poems more convincing, while less colloquial attempts like ``The Conversation'' seem to strain too hard toward the mythic. Though the poet may admit, in a poem to his mother, that he ``hated that you and the place the South were one . . . ,'' he also retains a love for both the people and the place, and the tension between those contradictory emotions makes for complex and moving poems.-- Grace Bauer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst., Blacksburg

Product Details

Louisiana State University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.85(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.48(d)

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