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Selfwolf (Phoenix Poets) Paperback – April 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Poets
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (April 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226313840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226313849
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

paper 0-226-31384-0 The third book by the author of a critical study of Wallace Stevens anticipates critics by admitting its sentimentality and flat, demotic speechof course, the poems that indulge Hallidays delusions of greatness, though meant to be ironic, are closer to his sense of self-importance. Far too many of these colloquial narratives concern Hallidays anxieties about his academic career, and the poetry biz: Loaded Inflections mocks all critics, leaving true judgement only to God and the future; two poems resent other poets who dont sufficiently praise his genius; and The Halls bemoans the indifference of the building where he failed to get tenure. Politics and history occasion much soft thinking about the worlds horrors: I think /of the surplus of human poignancy out there. An earthquake in India (Horrible); a murder in Taipei (Taipei Triangle); a man dying Dublin (After the Rain)all these remind him of his luck in being alive, and result in the bathetic couplet:The poignancy of the human is nearly too much to stand. / The way a small child at a street-corner takes your hand. Elsewhere, Hallidays less circumspect; hes a chatty bopper, like Billy Collins more than Frank OHara. When hes feeling guilty about his failed marriage, we know why: his guyish obsession, in several poems, with bouncing boobs and cheerleaders with skin 21 smooth. Theres something pathological in the swaying between grandeur and abasement, and then theres the simple version: a horny but sensitive regular guy. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

The informal, conversational quality of Halliday's work almost hides its artfulness, which seems to be precisely his intention. -- The New York Times Book Review, Ken Tucker

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason Michael Miller on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
The best thing about Mr. Halliday's work is that you can see the personal nature of the author in the poems. I can see Mark sitting up late at night writing all of this (Loaded Inflections) and I can understand the relationships he has with his characters (Divorce Dream). Selfwolf is absolutely believable and devoid of cloying sentiment. His personality is on those pages and to read them leaves me wanting to research volumes on his thoughts. This book is a lot less like typical poetry and a lot more like the most interesting discussion you've ever had with that one person who is intriguing because he won't let you pick his brain. The one disappointment? I want to know even more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Janee J. Baugher on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
This highly accessible collection of poems includes thirty-seven pieces and is divided into three sections. The first section offers domestic poems, free-association poems, rants and occasional poems. Halliday uses mostly literal language in the first person narrative. Tonette, a poem about a childhood experience, has a credible voice with bittersweet irony and kid-like honesty: "I went to my seat grinning with ears like scarlet beacons,/ my grin tried to say `Boys don't need music'/ but said instead `I am lost on this planet.'" Also notable is Narragansett Boulevard with its unique, organic poetic form that interweaves repeat words used in its previous lines. Divorce Dream, however, was a disappointment because I felt like the poet was excusing himself after writing a lovely surrealist/symbolic poem by confessing that it was "only a dream."

Halliday uses very specific forms to push a theme: a poem on internal questioning stemming from external influences swims harmoniously in a loose-association, tangential form. He doesn't just have gripes, he has solutions, too: "empty the closet:/ there is a pale blue suit that knows too much about/ vows not kept/ and thirty shirts hang there nursing thirty claims." Another example of form-following-function can be seen in Soul on Bench. Here, the rhyming scheme is essential because the speaker is deliberately breathing in order to listen to his internal metronome.

Section two touches on the art of writing. The poet presupposes his critics and writes: "Oh, Halliday thinks his most banal experiences are poetry already!'" Poem du jour? Why not? Writers can't wait for inspiration to knock them off their feet; they merely glean all they can from daily life.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
many good poems, but there's so much irony in this book that when you get to poems like Tonette the poet sounds like a hypocrite. how'd erma bombeck get into the room? "bad people" is a weird mix of nostalgia, empathy and disapproval but ends up feeling parental (ask your mother) and hence cliche. "Other Pages" reads like a page torn from the Frank Bidart handbook "Emotional displays through Typography." and haven't i seen some of these poems before, in Tasker Street? the poet seems to have painted himself into a corner here.
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