Winner of the 1991 Juniper Prize sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Press.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyHow to bridge the gap between his reader's experiences and his own is the question Halliday poses, but fails to answer, in this collection. A mean-spirited rejection of another poet's confessional piece suggests the pointlessness of such literary efforts. ``Put that poem back in your fat little filing cabinet. / And then what? Then what? Then try to be strong: / like . . . a tree; / a tree's nobility is poemless.'' Halliday's ( Little Star ) self-consciousness about the poetic act, which he nevertheless commits, limits the appeal of his work. In one piece, a paddler in an odorous, yellow-green swamp is prompted to affirm that life ``is not about books.'' But the poem fails to convey any sense of why the swamp is a compelling setting for this admission. Halliday is rarely emotionally engaged with his subjects. One long poem mocks Yuppiedom with a cleverness that never delves beneath the surface. ``God, you should see Wendy's pottery / . . . some of her glazes / are really original (it's not just me who says so).'' Other satirical poems that render the voices of people seeking release from life's unpleasant realities reveal none of their Middle American subjects' complexities. (June)
Library JournalHalliday's second poetry collection, winner of the 1991 Juniper Prize, is filled with poems that penetrate to our hearts. The poems themselves are full of details and are very conversational in tone, much like the poems of Miller Williams. Witness these lines from ``Vegetable Wisdom,'' which are strong even when taken out of context: ``You seem to believe I'm a future lover or brother/ whose heart holds a certain space waiting to be filled.'' Throughout, Halliday uses proper nouns to help give a sense of place and identity. Often autobiographical in nature, but still moving beyond the personal, the poems work well as a whole. One can easily appreciate their moments of truth. Highly recommended for most libraries. --Lenard D. Moore, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake Cty . , N.C.
BooknewsWinner of the 1991 Juniper Prize, the annual poetry award sponsored by the U. of Massachusetts Press. Paper edition (unseen), $9.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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