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Soul Make a Path Through Shouting Paperback – July 1, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cassells's writing strikes a balance between exquisite language and an empathy for anyone who is forced to suffer. And at first, the two might seem incompatible: the first draws on the resources of beauty, while the second must be harsh and real in order to be credible. The book's themes call for a tough language that can adequately haul the burden of oppression; the author attempts to combine his love of ornate phrasing with scenes of violence, shooting for a new effect, a sort of rhapsody of pain. It's surprising how often he makes an impact. Like Pasternak, Cassells excels at merging a sleeping landscape with a moment of crisis. If the goal is to prod us to remember history's atrocities, our constant shudder through the middle sequence of short poems (such as "These Are Not Brushstrokes," "Search" and "The Request") validate the writer's success. Soul Make a Path Through Shouting presents a new creature in the bestiary of contemporary poetry, related to the leopard: tranquil, regal and sophisticated, with an eye on the jugular.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Few readers who stick with this book to its final page will emerge unaffected. Cassells, an incredibly strong and courageous American poet who lives in Rome and is fluent in Spanish, Catalan, and Italian, has produced a volume so vivid, so rich in its use of the language, so profoundly disturbing and bewilderingly refreshing that it takes the breath away. Cassells writes always and wrenchingly of catastrophe-the Holocaust, AIDS, the desecration of our planet, Afghan refugee camps, the Spanish revolution-but the horror is always informed by beauty, by the healing process of struggle, by vitality's very breath. Thus, a deaf-mute Jewish boy, forced by the Nazis to clean the street with his tongue, wets a stone and finds there the image of a flower. In war-torn Spain, an enemy soldier approaches a wounded village girl; just when she believes he's about to kill her he presses "into my hand/A perfect berry." Cassells is probably less successful in his tributes to other men and women-expository description sometimes interrupts the flow of his insights. But on the whole he shows enormous promise of making great contributions to our literary traditions. Recommended for all libraries.
Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; 1St Edition edition (July 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556590652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556590658
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #623,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I knew the poet during my studies at Stanford University and was thus interested in reading his verse. I first read some anthologized poems, then stumbled upon this collection. Cassells is a highly talented poet with a magical command of language. His best poems are the ones on general themes (Down from the Houses of Magic, A Schadrach Chorus) in which he fuses keen observation with an excellent ear and thereby creates an exquisite music. He is one of very few living authors that can send me to my dictionary to look up a word, witnessing to his vast storehouse of language. I found the sequence of poems on AIDS victims moving, but perhaps a touch too self-absorbed -- more like journal entries than highly-crafted works of art. Not that I can fault him for this, since the poems evidently issued from very grievous personal losses; but as mentioned, he is better in the other poems. If there is anything to criticize in his work it is that there is scarcely any lightness or joviality -- no witty edge to relieve the weighty and lugubrious subjects he broods over. Perhaps an even more mature Cassells will be able to incorporate this dimension into his voice.
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