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The Eye-Beaters, Blood, Victory, Madness, Buckhead and Mercy Paperback – January 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Doubleday (January 2000)
  • ISBN-10: 0385020503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385020503
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,361,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I love poets from the American South. There is a sensuality and feeling-first ethic that make them distinctive.
The book opens with the sad and lovely "Diabetes," which describes its initial and eventual symptoms: "I thirsted like a prince...my belly going round and round with self-/ Made night-water..gangrene and kidney/ Failure...boils blindness skin trouble falling/ Teeth coma and death."
Knowing a diabetic personally makes this melancholic meditation highly poignant for me: "One pocket nailed with needles and injections, the other dragging/ With sugar cubes to balance me in life...Tell me, black riders, does this do any good?"
The poem's diabetic is courting death, "a livable death at last": "Heavy summer is right/ For a long drink of beer (a diabetic no- no)...my body is turning, is flashing unbalanced/ Sweetness everywhere, and I am calling my birds."
"Messages" contrasts the childhood and adolescence of the poet's son. In childhood, father and son chase "Butterflies"; all is playful frivolity. In the gorgeous "Giving a Son to the Sea," Section II of this poem, Dickey realizes he will lose his son to other loves and other lands: "And I must let you go, out of your gentle/ Childhood into your own man suspended..." It oozes fatherly affection as the poet addresses his "gentle blonde/ Son."
"Apollo" honors American astronauts but sees Dickey going a bit over the top verbally, something he is perpetual danger of doing. On the other hand, his abstract mysterious work in "The Place" is stunning: On a frigid winter night, a pair of lovers look for a place private enough to share a secret.
"The Cancer Match" brings bracing optimism to a troubling diagnosis, and "Venom" brings the same message to a snakebite sufferer.
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