The mood and scope of the whole are sounded in Part I, The New Odysseus, a series of twenty linked poems,
where a somewhat weary new Odysseus invokes his legendary adventures and various gods as he wanders
both in the Tacoma present and yet in other lands and times, with an eye on our absurd world of the coffee
house, sex change, the mall, pogo sticks, an anomalous game of cricket, poverty, yearning, old age, mortality,
a quiet, bleak fading. It is a phantasmagorical trip, told with a kind of rueful even solemn whimsy which
is his own.
The following two sections reflect Magee’s personal odyssey. They give us back the varied worlds he has
inhabited, their landscapes and meanings, through the vision of artists and poets whose personae Magee
explores and at times adopts. It is a strange world, steeped in art, populated by the active ghosts of Proust,
Whitman, Roethke, Chagall, O’Keeffe, Yeats, Cather and others, as well as by spirits like Rapunzel. But then a
homeless man speaks as he wakes in his cold blankets near Seattle docks. Or we pause in front of a Dali
painting to consider time itself. It is quite a trip.
The book is dedicated to Jean Musser, the poet’s late wife and fellow poet. She also appears movingly in a
few of the poems. Her presence is felt throughout.