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Compassionate Imperialism (& Its Links to Terror) Paperback – February 6, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Terry Provost is a Cleveland-based poet and educator. He calls this book, "an act of insane sanity, an act of belligerent pacifism aimed against the prevailing ideology of totalitarian neo-liberalism, and its logical consequence cum reductio ad absurdum, the living nightmare of terror we call the Bush Administration."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 63 pages
  • Publisher: deep cleveland press (February 6, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0974205451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974205458
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,412,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Terry Provost, Compassionate Imperialism (and its "links to terror") (deep cleveland press, 2004)

I truly wish I could give this book a good review.

It starts off with a piece Provost wrote in the late seventies, and there's a good deal f promise there. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's poetry. The next sixty-two pages... well, no.

"No ideas but in things," William Carlos Williams said half a century ago. Such remains the rallying cry for what distinguishes poetry from prose. And it seems, subconsciously or not, to have been an idea that Provost was at least trying to embody in the seventies. For the rest of this collection, though, which was written over the past decade, he has completely abandoned the idea (at least for these poems). Instead, he's content simply to relate, to excoriate, and to screed, with no thought whatsoever to the poetry of the words being used:

"The CIA engineers the overthrow of Mossadegh,

replaces him with the Shah of Iran whose secret

police, Savak, trained by American overseers from

Langley, becomes infamous for torture."

(--"Ancient History, Like You, Today")

Artless and, at the same time, without a shred of craft. Nothing about it even remotely resembles poetry. And yet, it's marketed and sold as such for reasons unbeknownst to me. I find this all the more depressing because in so many pieces here, Provost obviously has his political head screwed on straight (certainly far straighter than any other overtly political poet I've come across since Carolyn Forche), and had he actually put some real effort into crafting poems instead of speeches for political rallies, he could've likely come up with some powerful, persuasive material.
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