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Florida Poems Hardcover – January 22, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Exuberant description meets political protest and amateur natural history in this fifth volume from MacArthur grant winner McGrath (Road Atlas), whose new poems speak to his adopted state's ills and illusions. The very readable opening sequence adapts Aristophanes to tell the story of a city luxurious, based on tourism, deeply divided that flourishes, then founders, in the clouds: as McGrath's poem unfolds, his cloud metropolis comes to resemble first the United States, then Florida, complete with rampant hedonism, alligators and struggling immigrants. Awe and resentment alternate throughout short poems in the middle of the volume, which view specific locales: a long-lined lyric evokes "jasmine, egret in moonlight, trade wind through the jacaranda," while a comical villanelle explores "the annual State Fair, a very weird place." More discursive poems tag along with an early explorer or visit McGrath's wrath on Orlando, "city with the character of a turnpike restroom." Last, best and longest, "The Florida Poem" takes readers on a vatic tour of the whole state, through "technocrats and mousketeer apparatchiks" to "indigenous culture ripped from the walls/ by the wind of European arrival." Though some passages sound clunky or rushed, McGrath's gregarious phraseologies and expandable forms (one based on the alphabet, another on journals) suit his odd blend of comedy and jeremiad. Readers who take special pleasure in Billy Collins or in Florida itself will find McGrath's book something to remember. (Feb.)Forecast: Topical and colloquial enough to garner review attention, this book should also generate profiles in glossies and seems an NPR natural,, given McGrath's solid mid-career stage. The volume's theme seems guaranteed to snag home-state media: look for regional interest, and perhaps even (given the dis of Disney) some controversy.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

“[Florida Poems] is part Walt Disney, part Old Testament. [McGrath] possesses and displays extraordinary dexterity.” (Dionisio Martinez, Miami Herald)

“Readers who take special pleasure in Billy Collins or in Florida itself will find McGrath’s book something to remember.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Stunning....fierce.” (New York Times Book Review) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060008962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060008963
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,975,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By choiceweb0pen0 VINE VOICE on November 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Regional collections of poetry can often be so narrow that only people that are from or living in that region can appreciate. However, McGrath's "Florida Poems" is an exception. Perhaps it is because Florida is a state that most Americans visit at some point, even if it is just to visit Disney, McGrath doesn't just show the beautiful side of the state or only the ugly side of it either, but a beautiful coherent combination of both. Not only is the colonization of Florida explored, occasionally lamented, but readers step inside Chucky Cheese's and the geography of Florida itself. While there are two long poems in this collection, they are well worth reading, and especially the first one, "A City in Clouds" provides, if not retells, a myth of Florida. I especially enjoyed "William Bartram Beset by Crocodiles," "Hemingway Dines on Boiled Shrimp and Beer," and "Trouble With Miami." I previously read "Road Atlas" just before this collection, which is another book I would highly recommend. So even if you never set foot in Florida itself, "Florida Poems" is an excellent way to visit Florida from the bookshelf.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love poetry that is full of imagery...combinations of vivid words that can take your mind's eye far away from reality. McGrath's 'Florida Poems' is FULL of this type of poetry.

EXCERPT:

The last night, as always, the moon
from among the wheeling stars cast down its unfiltered gaze
onto the great sky-prairie,
a place at last subdued, defeated, bereft
of all but the thin shrouds and tattered shreds of cloud
upon which the city perched.
_____

McGrath has taken me back to the amazing atmosphere that Florida is: the boats, the water, the beautiful clouds, the beach, the city life. McGrath captures the essence of Florida and writes it out in beautiful lines. If you like poetry and the Florida lifestyle then I definitely recommend this book.

5/5
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