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Cross This Bridge at a Walk Paperback – June 1, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Wind Publications; First Edition edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893239462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893239463
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,475,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By B. Omanson on September 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
In a recent interview, Bob Dylan, commenting on his early days playing the coffee houses in Greenwich Village, said a lot of the folk singers used the songs to project themselves, their own personalities, onto the audience. Dylan didn't approve or condemn that approach, he just distinguished it from his own, which was to focus on the nature of the song itself. I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but it is Dylan's idea that I am getting at - that it is the song that matters, more than the singer. Many folksingers used the songs as a mode of self-expression; the songs were used to delve the personality of the singer. Dylan preferred the opposite tack: to use his personal style to probe the character, history and resonances of the song itself. This is probably why Dylan, the true protean artist, never sounded like the same performer from decade to decade, or even from year to year, as opposed to someone like, say, Neil Diamond who, for all his strengths, seems to be singing the same song from one decade to the next.

This is all a round-about way of discussing the new book of poems by Jared Carter, `Cross This Bridge at a Walk'. In the same way that, with Dylan, the emphasis is all on the songs; with Carter the emphasis is wholly on the stories themselves. As with Dylan, who places all his mastery of technique and tradition at the service of the individual song, who never uses a song simply to showcase his ability, or his personality, Carter subordinates his considerable mastery of formal technique and literary tradition to the stories themselves.
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Format: Paperback
"To go, if there is time, to look at what

the land holds..."

So begins "Raccoon Grove", the first narrative poem in Carter's newest collection of poetry. Decidedly Hoosier, the stories are lean, honest, and reflect the tellurian watershed of the silent Mississinewa River -- a river as enigmatic as the towns and people that lay within its valley. While Twain's Mississippi embodied freedom, Carter's Mississinewa is a twilit messenger, an ancient witness to all things buried, drowned, and nearly forgotten.

Past the glass factories, the paper mills, the gas wells and the sycamores, the river winds through five counties of the Indiana heartland. It is here, in this area, that Carter's mythical Mississinewa County lies. It is here where musselmen know "ebony shell from monkeyface, and why you never forked pimplebacks"; of tent revivals, midwestern thunderstorms, and preachers who discover miracles of a different sort; of young women creeping up the darkened stairs of the local photographer, a loner who indeed knows the difference between "art" and the hidden ambience of spirit; and of a rebel captain, a covered bridge, a Hoosier militiaman, and a handful of matches...

Born and raised in the Indiana town of Elwood, educated at Yale and Goddard, Carter has recreated the midwest as only a true Hoosier can. Behind his tales rise the shadows of Tecumseh, the Delaware and Miami, the frontier forts, and the people who came after to flood the land with change. The mark of their desires and tragedies live on, much as the Mississinewa dam still remains as both scar and savior. It is Carter's voice that demands we neither seek nor expect explanation from what we see here in this mystical landscape -- merely the acceptance of a real and ancient truth.
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Decades later, images from Mr. Carter's After the Rain and Work for the Night is Coming still have the capacity to haunt me. The verses in those poems seemed to appear from the mist, capturing internal and the external landscape. This collection initially seemed much drier, more historical and factual in nature, than poetic. That sense remains, but as I moved through Cross This Bridge at a Walk, I began to appreciate his work more, as he laid down his lines plank by plank.
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Format: Paperback
These long poems set in Indiana leave one with a sense of wonder. They tell stories about places and link us to the people who walked those places in past times. Lovers of history, Hoosiers and ex-Hoosiers will especially feel at home with Jeb Carter.
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