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Wildwood Flower: Poems Hardcover – October, 1992

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807117705 ISBN-10: 0807117706 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title poem of Byer's collection, the 1992 Lamont Poetry selection, introduces readers to the themes of self-reliance and respect for tradition that are woven into the broad narrative design of the book: "In the stream where I scrub my own blood / from rags, I see all things flow / down from me into the valley." The dominant voice here belongs to a woman named Alma who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the turn of the century. The poems, filled with references to mountain ballads and wild flowers from that region, attempt to piece together the hard and lonely experience of women in the mountain frontier. At times, the imagery in the poems is striking: " 'Who are you?" I asked the shade / where her milk bucket rusted to nothing / but rim . . . " But in general the work is unoriginal. By and large, the poems are built in stanzas of free verse, technically similar to the conventional fare of contemporary poetry. Byer ( The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest ) does not create a new idiom for Alma's voice and there are few surprises in her confessions.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press; 1st edition (October 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807117706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807117705
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,697,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dianne L. Moses on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Byer is quoted as saying of the Blue Ridge Mts. "...these mountains are a crazy-quilt of trails haunted by women's voices," and what Byer is successful in doing is bringing those voices to life. Each poem connects the reader with the lives of women who have lived in the mountians, the isolation of their daily lives and how they sink into or break the isolation by communicating with each other through their songs. The poems are sometimes joyful and sometimes haunting as the boundary between domestic space and nature overlap. I couldn't stop reading and usually with poetry I only read one or two poems at a time and then let it settle. But with this book I got caught up Byer's crazy-quilt and read untill the end. It is a rich book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
So much of contemporary poetry is as prosy as your average obituary. And just about as engaging. A few poets, more than a few of them from the South, still know how to wield a line, a stanza, a whole poem. This poet does. The poems in this book, in the voice of a mountain woman named Alma, gather up the physical, emotional, erotic life of one woman into a texture of beauty and terror. "Abandoned to hoot owls and copperheads," Alma survives and sings her journey through the dark into luminous song. If you despair of what is happening to poetry, these days, don't. Read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Lord only knows who Publishers Weekly gets to review its books, but it goofed with this reviewer. (Maybe from NYC, too jaded to know what real poetry is?) This is a wonderful book, lyrical, unashamedly so, and full of the the details that make literature stay in one's imagination.
While the NYC critics celebrate the obscure and fashionable (Jorie Graham, anyone???), real poets are out in the hinterlands writing memorable poetry. Let's read them and let the literary establishment go about its silly business.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Clemons on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think you should seriously consider removing Publisher Weekly's review; this is a very good selection of poems. The poet's word choice seems so natural. The poems' sequence of words seem inevitable and the writing is beautiful and appears effortless. The themes are accessible but not cliched. These are not screeching confessional poems, nor do they contain the so-called words of the street ("f...", sh..." etc) It is becoming a cliche but the review by Publisher Weekly almost certainly stems from east coast bias. Highly recommend her poetry along with that of Betty Adcock and David Mason. Good poetry is being written in the U.S.; too bad that you have to read reviews by Fred Chappell to discover it.
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