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Ants on the Melon: A Collection of Poems Paperback – March 16, 1999
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There is a fairy tale quality to the appearance of this book of poems by Virginia Hamilton Adair. Although she has been publishing poetry for six decades, this is the first collection from a writer who is now in her 80s and is blind due to glaucoma. But for all that she has been through (including the suicide of her husband, historian Douglass Adair, some 30 years ago), there is a modesty and wryness to her work. From "Ants on a Melon," the poem that gives this collection its name, to "The Dark Hole," which tackles Hiroshima and the atom bomb as its subject, her poems are always finely wrought and highly original. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The appearance of a first collection by a poet now blind and in her 83rd year must be accounted a triumph, and it is hardly to be wondered at if the result is a little uneven. Adair, recently profiled in The New Yorker, works with equal daring in free verse and more traditional forms; her subjects include social and religious commentary, but her principal theme is ordinary experience and its resistance to facile interpretation. It is a shame that most of the poems are not dated: given the variousness of her style and the reminiscences about poets as different as William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, and May Sarton, it would have been useful to know more about her development over more than 60 years of writing. Some poems might have been excluded, but in her better poems-the memory-pictures of "The Grandmothers" or "One Ordinary Evening," the visionary topographies of "Blackened Rings" or "In Dublin's Fair City, 1963"-there is a free ingenuousness not often heard in contemporary writing. Much of Adair's work should appeal to nonspecialists as well as to poets; recommended for most collections.
Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Her poetry is brilliant and unaffected. You like the person behind the voice. Some of the poems have great depth and give up insight and wisdom if you take the time to reflect upon them. Ms. Adair was one of our favorite poets we have read and discussed so far.
Upon skimming it in the bookstore, I was hooked. Poems about life, without sappy metaphor or tricky construction. Good earthy, practical poetry. Such breadth of matter, such depth of understanding. I felt that I'd met a poet of substance.
Let's leave it at this, Adair nudged me into reading more poetry, more often.