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CATS OF THE TEMPLE Paperback – January 12, 1986

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Few recent debuts in poetry have been greeted with the enthusiasm and acclaim accorded to Leithauser's Hundreds of Fireflies. His buoyant charm and ease of delivery won him a legion of admirers and a reputation as a Wunderkind. In this second volume of his verse, greater maturity and confidence are in evidence, but the mood is still light and playful. Leithauser relies very much on his eye and sense of humor, and is a wizard of description. Nothing is too trivial to be noticedthe encounter of a toad and a damselfly, for example, or an ostrich in the Kyoto Zoo being offered a pretzel by a frightened child. Leithauser trusts the world to reveal its own meaning and is modest about the extraordinary refractory powers of his own painterly mind. January
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Since the appearance of Hundreds of Fireflies ( LJ 1/1/82), his poetic debut, Leithauser has been alternately praised and blamed for his role in the so-called neoconservative trend in American poetry: the recent revival of pre-existing formal structures and traditional prosodic devices. His new book, a "sibling companion" to the first, once again exhibits a reverence for technique. Elegant and subtle rhyme structures, exacting syllabics, and a clean, contemporary diction characterize highly pictorial lyrics that attain their sharpest relief when directed toward animals ("I watch a toad/ dusty, hugecross a blacktop road/ . . . landing each/ time like a splattered/ egg") and the landscape of Japan ("Flooded ricefields/ become lavender mirrors, snugly/ secured by green studs."). A refined and deftly realized collection. Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 70 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (January 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394741528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394741529
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,006,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
OK I've done Augie and touched on Fred (see the last review but one) - now it's Brad's turn. 'Dawn...alights' - can he be serious? Rabbits is more like it, but - call me old-fashioned (that's the trouble with language change), but - to hear rabid (which simply means infected with rabies, cognate with rage) given the short 'a' of popular speech* to make it chime with rabbit for comic effect makes me, well, you can guess; poets are the guardians of our tongue - and what's wrong with avid, bAby? Leithauser's half-rhyme's accomplished enough, but after reading the Anglo-Irish Ian Duhig it seems rather precious, and that's when he's not being plumb dull ('even the packed, desperate thoroughfares of central Tokio are all but deserted', or, in the previous poem, two underwhelming 'incidents', one involving a helicopter, which singlehandedly almost defeats poetry, the other snorkeling ('I floated simply in the upsurge of a stranger's exhalations'). And maybe it's NOT fair, but compare his Stuffed Tortoise (p18) with Joseph Harrison's Aldabran Tortoise (Identity Theft p81); both dead, but which moved you more?

Do these three make up a kind of school, kind of Ashbery picturesque (as Ashbery wasn't, being famously nonvisual) with a sprinkling of camp, faux or otherwise (something Ashbery might have indulged in more, for my money) or am I punching above my weight here? Bloodless stuff anyhow; let's call them Tinklers. I feel Big John's dominance has been far from benign and look forward to the reign of King Billy - or maybe a republic? Nah - not in America!

*At least you guys can still pronounce feral. And hedonist. We in Britain can't tell our e's from our elbows
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