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Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
by Nathaniel Philbrick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.29
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40 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overwrought narrative with no historical analysis, May 15, 2013
If a popular historian wants a best seller these days, he often turns to the Founding Fathers. Mr. Philbrick has neatly attempted to jump back to the period before the Declaration of Independence to focus on the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill. This historical moment has been relatively ignored by popular historians recently, despite the popularity of the theme in the 19th century.

Philbrick attempts, in cursory fashion, to outline the difficulties the Patriots in Massachusetts faced in convincing both the British and the other colonialists of the virtue of their actions. With greater strength, he describes the manly vigor of the scratch farmer/frontiersman who comprised the majority of the Patriot force. However, in neither subject is his analysis particularly insightful nor organized.

With less basis in the historical record (and I base my comment here upon his notes) he accuses Joseph Warren, the Patriot leader and general, of fathering a child with the 13 year old nanny of his children. He even salaciously imagines Warren running back juggling his young lover and his older fiance.

He also notes several times in the narrative that the Massachusetts colonialists had slaves and suggests--in what is mere opinion--that the Patriots were unaware of the contradiction between holding slaves and championing freedom. A reader completely ignorant of American history who read this book and its epilogue would be left with the impression the black Americans were still enslaved in Massachusetts in 1830!

The heart of the book narrates the events during the initial occupation of Boston by British forces in 1775 and the early battles of the American revolution. He writes a novelistic account of those exciting days which maintains a brisk and exciting pace. In fact, it is best read quickly and briskly, since he manages a malapropism or clumsy sentence construction on practically every page. The narrative is often somewhat confusing if the reader tries to pin down exactly what happened--but Philbrick certainly creates an impression of a narrative.

So why do I rate this book at 3 stars? Despite the fact Philbrick is no historian and a barely competent writer, he has managed to create a somewhat readable popular account of a recently neglected area of American history. Professional historians seem to be concerned with such fascinating topics as "Afro-American lesbian experience in colonial Connecticut circa 1756 (May) and 1764 (October) while more popular historians have milked the Founding Fathers to death. (John Adams--Portrait of a Man, a Husband, a Gardener!). I allow Philbrick a hearty three cheers for attempting late colonial history--I only wish he would have done a better job.

I would like to note the third comment to this review is exceptionally insightful and actually more intelligent than my review. Check it out!
Comment Comments (33) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2013 9:40 PM PDT


Evolution of Dub 7: Creationist Rebel
Evolution of Dub 7: Creationist Rebel
Price: $19.99
38 used & new from $12.03

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fine dub, April 15, 2013
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More and more it seems when I come home from work and need some music to enable decompression, I grab some dub CD or another. King Tubby is by far my favorite--his mellow and subtle dubs seem to wash my stress away and leave me in a calmer happier place. I would never have expected this years ago. It may be a reflection of my aging mentality and desire to have music soothe.
The evolution of dub series has been a favorite of mine. The series features dub albums (rather than random dub tracks thrown together) so each CD is more stylistically coherent than say Trojans' fine 3 CD sets of various dub. The series also features exceptionally fine packaging for dub music. Each box set includes a short booklet with notes about the recordings. This approach takes dub seriously as music.

As you can see from my rave, I would happily suggest you buy the entire evolution of dub series--hey, it will only set you back 200 dollars or so. However, of the entire series, this one--volume 7 Creationist Rebel--is particularly noteworthy. Four CDs are included which have been out of print for some time and each is exceptional. Natty Locks Dread, an 1974 release, features extremely early Lee Perry and King Tubby dubs--including dubs from the just opened Black Ark studio. Late dub--and truly in the radically changing world that was Jamaican music in the 1970s six year is a long time--is represented by Dub Conference by Blackbeard. The effects are over the top in the style of Scientist.

The real gems in the collection are two excellent releases from the mid-seventies. King Tubby meets the Upsetter at the Grassroots of Dub is a remarkable joint effort by King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry featuring dubs by both masters. The star CD here though is the remarkable King Tubby Surrounded by Dreads at the National Arena. According to the booklet, King Tubby's reputation had fallen in the mid-seventies. At a remarkable joint show with Bob Marley and the Wailers, King Tubby and his soundsystem entertained the crowd till dawn at the National Arena. This CD features mixes used at the show. These mixes are simply outstanding.

My core advice on dub remains stable--buy the CDs, not the MP3s, as dub loses something in the MP3 format. I know it is extremely hard to convert the unconverted to dub music and absolutely unnecessary to convert the converted. Still I feel I must try, if only to share one of the most relaxing musical experiences around.And though this is absolutely unnecessary to say, on some level I love King Tubby. His music is just so very ingratiating.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2015 1:32 PM PST


Deep Roots Observer Style
Deep Roots Observer Style
Price: $21.59
33 used & new from $9.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag--Niney's LPs from the mid-seventies, April 10, 2013
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This release highlights four LPs Niney the Observer produced in the mid-seventies. None is truly outstanding, and one--the Heptones'--is simply mediocre.
Dennis Brown contributes the LP Deep Down which features the wonderful song So Long Rastafari (which is almost universally available on greatest hits compilations.) Dennis Brown released a huge amount of material in the seventies--the secondary cuts in the albums often have no particular quality. Much of the album is fairly uninspired and unexciting. I would rank this as a three or four star album if it had been released separately--partially for the excellence of the song So Long Rastafari and partially for the rarity of the rest of the material.

I Roy contributes a album called the Observer Book. I-Roy is one of the earliest Jamaican toasters and deserves a honored historical mention for pioneering this early predecessor to rap. If you are unfamiliar with toasting, the toaster basically comments over a song--sometimes responding to the singer (imagine someone interjecting, with rhythmic accuracy, into Love Me Do by the Beatles "Yeah do love me girl" or something of that nature) and sometimes just riffing from the inspiration provided by the sacred herb. I personally do not care for toasting and would not have bought this CD separately; it does seem fairly adequate. For this reason, I will not rate this CD.

The Heptones contribute Better Days. The title is definitely optimistic--their lead singer the great Leroy Sibbles had just left the group. The economic realities of reggae music rear their ugly head here--Sibbles left after the Heptones scored the massive hit Sufferer's Time in England and opened for Bob Marley and the Wailers to emigrate the Canada. I can only suppose the money did not come in the way he expected. Unfortunately, without Sibbles, the Heptones are as hapless as the Miracles were without Smokey Robinson. This CD is literally painful. I would give it one or two stars if I was to rank it separately.

The dub CD Observation of Life is quite good. Niney based this CD on the Heptones' album Better Days. While I find the drummer somewhat monochromatic and uninteresting for a reggae album, the rest of the playing is fairly good--and Niney's dub is both interesting and different than most dub I have heard. While it is not the absolute best dub, it is attractive and listenable. I would be tempted to rate this CD at 5 stars but would probably settle for 4 since I suspect I will not dig it out that often.

This set of albums is definitely a mixed bag. Frankly, I doubt I will listen to it often--you may wish to pass on it unless you are an obsessive reggae collector or a big fan of Dennis Brown or I Roy.


Creating Realistic Landscapes for Model Railways
Creating Realistic Landscapes for Model Railways
by Tony Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.89
48 used & new from $11.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas; I look forward to trying them, February 22, 2013
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This book is full of good ideas for modeling scenery for model railroads; many of them are quite different from ideas in the American books. Hill has extensive ideas on modeling water, trees and stone walls. I plan on trying his technique for modeling waterfalls and maybe his use of clay for modeling walls. I have a suspicion many of his ideas would work best in HO or larger scales (I model in N scale); his ideas for trees are particularly extensive and interesting.

I think this book is worth having, if only to complement the other scenery books you have, but the Amazon price is a bit outrageous. I bought the book through Amazon marketplace for half the price Amazon listed.

Its a very nice book printed from durable paper covered with a plastic coating, so you could consult it while you actually worked on the railroad.


Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition
Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition
by Garry Wills
Edition: Hardcover
141 used & new from $0.01

52 of 88 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate history, tendentious logic, February 17, 2013
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First, for the potential reader considering whether to decide whether to buy this book, I should point out what it is not. This book does not address the contemporary scandals related to Catholic priests. No salacious revelations of pedophilia will entertain the prurient reader. I fear if you want a litany of the sins of contemporary priests, you best look elsewhere.
Rather, Wills has chosen to question the historical and philosophical foundations of the Catholic (and by extension) Orthodox traditions of priests, the real presence in the Eucharist, and the paschal mystery. He strikes directly at all that is a mystery in the Church--that of which Newman wrote so meaningfully--there is no religion without mystery.
Despite Wills formidable presence in contemporary culture as a writer and thinker, his skills fall far short in this challenge; he resorts to bad history and mere mockery to make his points.
To adopt his felicitous phrasing about the author of Hebrews--some think a polished author...must be a profound thinker. How true in Wills case, for he is very much a polished writer, yet not a profound thinker at all. His book does not withstand careful reading and his manifold misreadings are neither fruitful nor particularly relevant.
His first error is to presume he knows what the early Church did or did not do. This is not such an easy thing to discern (to put it mildly). To quote from the great historian of late antiquity Peter Brown (The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000, 2nd Edition (The Making of Europe)) "I never cease to wonder at the confidence with which scholars, Christians and non-Christians alike, declare that they somehow know for certain that such and such a feature of the Christian Church is not a manifestation of "true" Christianity--that it marked a decline from some more "pure" state of belief. This seems to me to amount to importing into the lay discipline of history a version of the potent religious myth of the pristine purity of the Primitive Church." Thus, in his first chapter he postulates an early Christianity as a "priestless" movement. This is a direct challenge to orthodoxy (both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) which maintain the early apostles founded the patriarchal churches--the Roman church was founded by St. Peter who is honored as the first Pope, and St. Paul. He depends on re-translating several Greek words--including re-translating episkopoi as the infelicitous phrase "overseer" instead of bishop. Basically, he is dependent on translation instead of any historical analysis to expel the priests from the early Christian movement. As I read his argumentation further, he actually presents evidence which would tend to support the idea priests WERE part of the early Christian church--such as when he demonstrates the radical Jewish cult the Essenes established their own priestly caste. By ordinary historical analysis--instead of the tendentious polemic Wills is writing--this would be fairly strong evidence that another radical Jewish sect--the Christians--would also have fairly early on established a priesthood--especially if the earliest non-scriptural references to the Church assume a priesthood--which they do.
Wills also attacks the real presence in the Eucharist. Here his arguments are basically a re-hashing of arguments already used by famous Protestants such as Philip Melancthon. Wills seems particularly fascinated by the possibility the host will be recycled through the digestive tract into the sewer. Truly, if contemplating your navel is the road to enlightenment, contemplating your sphincter is the road to dreary dead logic religion. To deny the early Church believed in the true presence he quotes I Corinthians 10:17--but ignores persistently I Corinthians 10:16--which the earliest and surest historical record of the belief in the true presence among Christians. He also studiously ignores the historical record outside of Scripture--the Romans accused Christians of practicing cannibalism in their rites and St. Justin Martyr clearly recorded belief in some mystical form of transubstantiation. Mr. Wills is free to believe whatever he wants to believe--he however is practicing third rate history.
To defuse the notion that the crucifixion was a kind of sacrifice, Wills expends a great deal of effort demonstrating that in GREEK culture and GREEK myth human sacrifice was not a current idea in the 1st century. He even asserts that archaeologists have found no evidence for human sacrifice in Ionian culture--how this is relevant simply left me gasping.
The heart of the book is an assault on the Epistle to the Hebrews--the canonical basis for the contemporary priesthood. Wills more or less realizes he must render Hebrews impotent for his argument to have any weight. Paradox completely eludes Wills--he is quite a plodding mind. I feel he fails in his exegesis of Hebrews. However, I did find his translation of the book (appended to the end of the book) well written and phrased.
When confronted with an argument he cannot answer he simply insults it. In his discussion of Anselm's Cur Deus Homo?, he calls some arguments "strange" and "grotesque." This is philosophical discussion on the level of the 3rd grade playground and not useful for the promotion of good thought.
Wills does note that in effect some of his best friends are priests.
Why Wills stays in the church is a very good question--this is 21st century America, not the Holy Roman Empire in the 17th century, and we have the right to worship where we will
The largest audience for this book will not be practicing American Catholics--who, like a majority of Americans, have made a choice (or felt chosen) about religion--but those who, for whatever reason, seek additional reasons to question the very existence of the Catholic church. What would distinguish a Catholic church as envisioned by Wills from the old line Protestant churches--those churches which have so completely extinguished the elements of mystery and mysticism from their services that their pews are nearly vacant today?
Comment Comments (18) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2013 8:28 AM PST


Deeper Roots
Deeper Roots
Price: $17.74
17 used & new from $13.74

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dub delight, February 7, 2013
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This review is from: Deeper Roots (Audio CD)
Yabby You was not a huge Jamaican star and his international profile was even smaller. He produced a small amount of uncompromising roots reggae in the seventies. I identified him with his vocal tracks, released on a marvelous Shanachie record during the 1980s; his vocal style and harmonies seemed both radical and spiritual.
From reading the linear notes to this release, I gather he had renown as a producer. This release has exactly one (1) conventional vocal track--most of the rest are dubs. And what amazing dubs they are. The musicianship is superb. Many tracks feature Familyman Barrett on bass--a particular treat since during this period he worked almost exclusively with Bob Marley. King Tubby mixed many of the dubs; these rank among his best work.
This is a major dub release and I would recommend it to any lover of classic Jamaican dub.
The linear note also note Yabby You has had a major influence on dubstep. I must admit complete ignorance about dubstep, but the notes do say Yabby You has been sampled for dubstep releases. I have absolutely no idea--I do think however this would be a great release for somebody vaguely interested in 1970s Jamaican dub to become acquainted with this breathtakingly original music.


Live At Legends
Live At Legends
Price: $10.00
51 used & new from $3.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Buddy Guy I remember, January 30, 2013
This review is from: Live At Legends (Audio CD)
In 1983 or 1884--its been a while--I went to a Buddy Guy concert at the Howard St. in Omaha, just a hole in the wall club and with the other half a dozen fortunates there heard one of the finest blues shows ever in Omaha. He impressed me as an amazing guitarist (and I got to see Junior Wells as well!)--to this day Buddy Guy struck me as the greatest guitar player in the American tradition I have ever seen.
Over the years, I have bought Buddy Guy CDs and LPs on occasion--in a futile search for one that would even begin to capture the memory of that live show. I don't understand it. Maybe the producers were terrified of the real Buddy Guy the raw great pure noise the man could make. Fools.
Yeah he's won a lot awards and yeah they stuck him in a lot of hall of fames and all that but still--he was just better live
And now this CD comes along. Yeah. This is the Buddy Guy I Remember. This is the guy whose guitar was literally twice as loud as the rest of the band. This is the genius who just depended on pure inspiration his pure genius to make his guitar sing.
This is an absolutely incredible CD. The live portion is about the length of a single set in a club. Amazing.
This is a must own CD.
Now let me quickly express my annoyance with several of the negative reviews here. The sound on this CD is EXACTLY what I remember at his live show. His guitar is just CRANKED! to the point the other instruments are fighting to be heard. That's how it should be. SO the sound is great.
Yes believe it or not Buddy and the guy who announce him use a couple of four letter words. Hey I'm the practicing Catholic, I'm not offended, this is a guy who wrote the song Damn Right I've got the Blues. You guys must be nuts.
If you don't love this CD, well, I am afraid you may not be ready for the blues. Maybe you should seek out another genre of music. The Sandpipers are still in print you know.
Ciao.


Free Radical: Ernest Chambers, Black Power, and the Politics of Race (Plains Histories)
Free Radical: Ernest Chambers, Black Power, and the Politics of Race (Plains Histories)
by Tekla Agbala Ali Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $32.40
36 used & new from $9.69

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An inadequate biography of the greatest living Nebraskan, December 29, 2012
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Everybody needs heroes. Ernie Chambers is mine.

I went to high school in Bellevue, Nebraska; more than 75% of the students were, like me, dependents of Air Force officers and noncoms from nearby Offutt Air Base. In fact, in my seventeenth year, when our school's black caucus invited the state Senator from North Omaha, Ernie Chambers, to talk to us, I had lived almost a third of my life on Air Force bases in England and Japan. Like my fellow Air Force brats, I thought I was very sophisticated and open minded about race--and like a significant minority of them, I was of mixed racial origin, though my Tuscarora/Mohawk/white mixture was pretty odd even for the Air Force.
Chambers' talk opened my eyes to the nature of America's racism as nothing else had to that point. He began by holding up slave manacles and talking about the passage from Africa and the horror of slavery. How whites still subjugated blacks--and then in clearly inflammatory language, how white women spent their afternoons drinking martinis. By now the auditorium was in an uproar--the black students in front were cheering wildly, while a majority of the white students were gesticulating and screaming bloody murder. I sat with two young white acquaintences, both of the "too cool for school" catagory, who laughed. Laughed. Under some internal pressure to have a reaction to the mayhem I was witnessing, I too laughed--yet felt incredibly guilty.
Maybe because my mother was an Indian and always told me "Indians can't drink" (I wish I had listened to her advice!) I didn't have much reaction to the comment about mothers drinking gin--still I felt it was offensive.
I joined a small group of students who gathered around Chambers afterward, and he simply said he didn't mean all white women drink martinis--but some obviously do. He pointed out that the media routinely referred to black women as prostitutes and junkies, and how hurtful and offensive it was to hear that day after day--it was as if scales fell from my eyes. He was exactly correct--as he was about so many issues in contemporary America, especially in Nebraska.

Ernie Chambers had a lasting effecton my life--though I only heard him speak one other time (at a very early dedication of the Malcolm X birthplace project). For years, his was the clearest most sensible voice in the Nebraska Unicameral. For all intents and purposes, he has written the basic law that governs Omaha, crucially ending at-large elections (which favored a powerful few) for district elections. He has been a clear moral voice for the poor and downtrodden--his cry has been justice, justice, justice. He has had a clear effect--thanks to his efforts, now an automatic grand jury is convened whenever anybody dies in state custody (such as a police shooting.) Every year he worked in the Unicameral, he introduced a measure to end the death penalty--several times watching it fail to a governor veto.

Tekla Johnson, a former legislative aide of Chambers and a graduate of University of Nebraska/Lincoln, wrote her doctoral thesis on Chambers' career and now it has been printed as book.
Unfortunately, as a biography of Ernie Chambers, it is barely passable and as a discussion of race in America it is frankly second rate. You get some idea of Chambers' intelligence when you realize the clever pun "Free Radical" is his description of himself--and consistently through the book the best bits are quotes from Senator Chambers.

Johnson does not have a good sense of narrative and the book jumps around in a dizzy fashion. She writes about this or that event and then lurches backwards or forwards in time for no apparent reason. Significant people, such as Preston Love or Tariq al Amin or Terry Carpenter, are introduced with the sketchiest of portraits, disappear, and then reappear again 20 or 30 pages on--often with the same sketchy portrait.

She tries to relate--with much success--Ernie Chambers with other contemporary black leaders--honestly though he seems to be very much sui generis; how many other black politicians have changed parties from the Democratic to the Republican to the New Alliance--all while remaining a registered independent 98% of the time? (Johnson must be ashamed of the short period Chambers was a Republican--she doesn't even mention Kay Orr, who was governor when he did it.)

Johnson (whose picture, oddly, is not included on the dust cover--is she afraid she looks too white?) has some oddly mechanical views on race--instead of fruitfully dealing with Chambers lifetime of anaylsis of the issue, she is satisfied in recycling tired radical cliches. She also has a habit of referring to whites as Euro-American and blacks as African-Americans--as if a clear ethnic divide existed between the races. Yet the truth is that if slavery of another people is a mortal sin, then selling your own children into slavery (which countless southern slaveowners did) is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. Black and white, the terms Chambers has consistently used, seems more apropos.

Oddly, whenever Johnson refers to Chambers, she calls him Ernest and consistently puts "Ernie" in quotation marks. This is odd because Chambers has been called Ernie and called himself Ernie for his entire career--his unpretentious attitude is a piece with his advocacy of the downtrodden, the neglected and his first career--barber.

The book will also be extremely difficult for a non-Nebraskan to follow, since Johnson doesn't bother to clearly explain the unique Nebraskan legislature, the Unicameral. I doubt many out of staters will understand how effective it was for Chambers to begin talking away when the session came to an end--threatening to end the entire session without any bills being passed due to Nebraska's unique constitution. In no other state of the Union could one man filibuster the entire proceedings--as Chambers did over and over again.

On a trivial level, she calls the Senators, again and again, "solons"--a very odd word choice for a collection of farmers, small town attorneys and real estate agents who barely rise to the level of Babbit, much less Solon.

I fear this book, which is so inadequate, will be the only biography of Ernie Chambers. Johnson seems a fairly adequate writer and tireless researcher--maybe she can revisit the subject after doing more interviews and reading more old newspapers.

In passing, she also does the reader the disservice of rehashing the Franklin Credit Union mess with some of the wilder rumors--I personally feel that subject should be approached with a ten foot pole.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2013 4:40 PM PST


Music Making in Chicago: 1928-1935
Music Making in Chicago: 1928-1935
Price: $24.99
30 used & new from $13.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tampa Red is one amazing guitarist, December 16, 2012
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This four CD set brings together a variety of early commercial blues sides recorded by Tampa Red--with and without Georgia Tom who played piano and sang.
The first two CDs largely feature a full band, with jug and kazoo (I really just wanted to write that sentence.....). Anyway, the first two CDs are done in the jug band style, with loose harmonies and full tilt boogie fun: quite similar to the Memphis Jug Band. They actually sound more professional than the legendary Memphis Jug Band--since Tampa Red's band took less chances than the Memphis Jug Band, their output is more even--not reaching either the lows nor the highs that make the Jug Band such a wonderfully exhilirating group. Mama Don't Want no Easy Riders around here is a stand out song, familiar to anyone who bought 2012's blues calender.
The second CD are mainly sides recorded with Georgia Tom playing piano in a solid boogie woogie style and Tampa Red playing lead and rhythm guitar. The songs are good but do not rise to classic status--the way, for example, almost every song Robert Johnson has. Several of the songs use familiar songs with unfamiliar lyrics--my wife began to sing along with a Sitting on Top of the World--only discovering Georgia Tom was singing "Things 'Bout Coming my Way".
What is exceptionally fine is Tampa Red's guitar playing. He is an astonishing guitar player; he plays a National guitar (at least, that what it sounds like and looks like in the picture) which is fairly closely miked. His single string lines sound almost electric and remind me of Elmore James. On several songs, I enjoyed his guitar playing more than the overall song.
The recordings themselves are uneven in quality--some are excellent and some relatively poor. It sounds as if the engineer chose to eliminate surface noise by toning down the treble; at least some recordings sound muffled to me.
This is a very good set of early blues.


Quick Question: New Poems
Quick Question: New Poems
by John Ashbery
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.19
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic, December 10, 2012
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Who am I after all to review the new book by the man often considered America's finest living poet?
I do have the slight credential that I did actually buy the book and much to my own surprise managed to read more than half in a single sitting.
I am a little sad. Ashbery has been more or less disappointing my expectations since the great book Can you Hear, Bird (almost 20 years old now) and Quick Question has disappointed even my diminished expectations.
One could of course pontificate mightily about poets who as they aged never again found the greatness of their youth, or counter that with those who, in their age, wrote wise and good poetry. What would be the point?
Ashbery's recent poetry does not blow the top of my head off. I do not stop at the end of a poem and exclaim--wow--even though half the time I only had a vague idea of what he meant. I expect that I will not return to the poems in this book, as I have not returned to the poems in Planisphere.
In fact, my sole reaction on reading the new poetry in Quick Question is--oh there's that Ashbery trick, or that one, trotted out one last time in the hope it can salvage an uninspired poem.
The plethora of pronouns without antecendents, the sudden colloquial expression, the juxtaposition of two uncommon objects.
When you juxtapose two uncommon things, and they are just two uncommon things, its, well, a little vapid.
You might want to buy or borrow the book yourself to see if you agree or disagree with me. This book reminds me very much of Planisphere; if you grooved to that one, you might find this one entertaining. And in all truth, Ashbery still writes better poetry than the vast majority of American poets.
Yet this book seems a very light craft to ride out this hour's monstrous storms.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2013 6:37 PM PST


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