Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyA spirit wavering between fieriness and crankiness animates this collection, a homage to Seattle painter Morris Graves. In Graves's aesthetics, Hamill ( Basho's Ghost ), editor of Copper Canyon Press, discovers a resolution to the age-old conflict between artistic discipline and inspiration: ``Perfect technique, then abandon technique to surrender completely to inspiration.'' At times this philosophy leads Hamill to curmudgeonly complaints about ``anarchists, avant-gardists, geeks / who would `liberate' Art / from the prison of technique.'' More often than not, however, Graves's work arouses in Hamill a kind of meditative defiance. In ``Malebolge: Prince William Sound,'' the poet equates the unruly modern world with Malebolge, ``the bowels of Hell's seventh circle'' in Dante's Inferno. Hamill intrepidly connects this image to the ``tar balls riding out the tides'' at the scene of the Valdez oil spill, provocatively suggesting political and environmental repercussions to taming the imagination. Garwood's monotypes, abstract visual representations of Hamill's themes, alternate with the poems in this handsomely produced volume. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library JournalThis collaboration of poems and images (produced by the manipulation of ink on printing plates) pays homage to Northwest painter Morris Graves. Galactic images converse with meditative poems strongly within the tradition of Ezra Pound's Cantos but more accessible. Fresh enlightenment about humanity's place in the universe is evoked most originally through the subtle dialog of words and images. Hamill's ``alpha and beta, a bull's horns/ upended'' becomes the letter ``b'' as ``small, delicate bird/ of the soul, wide-eyed/ at the whole wonderous world.'' Hamill's introduction ties their work to the 1950s Seattle Renaissance: the Northwest School of painters (Guy Anderson, Mark Tobey, Graves), and Carolyn Kizer's salon (Stanley Kunitz, Theodore Roethke) around Poetry Northwest . Recommended for large poetry collections and libraries with interest in the Northwest.-- Judy Hogan, Durham, N.C.
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