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Barbarism Paperback – April 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Four Way; 1st edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884800270
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884800276
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,175,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

It is always surprising and frustrating when someone who turns out sprightly and polished prose publishes a book of verse that is something less. On the strength of her collection of essays (Stealing Glimpses, 1999), one would expect former Kirkus contributing editor McQuade to be a sensitive and deft poet. Regrettably, her first collection is murky and, if anything, over sensitive. Virtually all of the 42 poems here are reveries of nature, idealized in ways that contradict the collection's title (which one must assume is meant ironically, although it is hard to tell from reading the poem that bears that name). This book is an example of the pathetic fallacy run riot, at its most hilariously excessive when McQuade suggests the breathless sexual awakening of a delphinium. The versifying is arch, clotted with alliteration for its own sake and riddled with quickly tiresome tricks of shifting parts of speech. There are scattered effective moments, usually when the mad flutterings of the imagery quiet down into a certain stately coherence, or when a rare flash of wit can be found. Occasionally, an image will burst out fresh (a pelican sagging with spent flight), but these are the exception rather than the rule. Most of the time, one feels that she has chosen her natural subjects for the mellifluousness of their names, rather than for any actual content.As a result, there isn't a single poem in the collection that works from start to finish. Instead, what we get is a sort of educated Hopkinsesque greeting card verse, humorless and a trifle fatuous. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


“This first book of her own poems displays descriptive vigor and emotive verve. Fauna and flora cavort, writhe, or unfold amid McQuade’s effusive visuality.” —Publishers Weekly

“McQuade is a nature poet, but her poems see mice, bees, and worms (to name a few of the species that pass before her lens) as anarchists, not big-eyed Disney creatures singing barbershop harmonies . . . . McQuade uses language in order not to be used by it. Everything has meaning for her.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“McQuade’s poems are meant to mystify as well as illuminate, and their vim and individuality make them worth learning her language.” —Harvard Review

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ron on September 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ms. McQuade, it would seem, is a prodigious talent who has, until now, allowed us only occasional glimpses of her genius. Here in this volume she steps forward with a compelling voice and a lovely, marvelous eye to push past the gates of the soul and set fire to the observed world. To paraphrase Rilke, what city doesn't yearn to be burned to the ground? What reader doesn't seek a voice with the power to sunder convention, or the irreverence and ingenuity to take the top of head right off with but a single turn of phrase. There is great poetry here, and much that rewards the lover of verse. I think if we are fortunate, it will be but the first of many from this young and very talented writer.
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