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A Matinee in Plato's Cave Paperback – February 8, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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Violence and tenderness coexist uneasily--as well they should--in Rob Griffith's marvelous book. A housewife watches an airman fall from the sky, a bankrupt minister kills himself, a pair of woozy lovers find a bleak moment of truth in the back seat of a rusty Monte Carlo--these are the vignettes from lives hanging in the balance artfully depicted in A Matinee in Plato's Cave. Maneuvering deftly through such demanding forms as the villanelle, rondeau, and sonnet, Griffith has produced a debut volume to remember. --R.S. Gwynn --R.S. Gwynn

A Matinee in Plato's Cave weaves biography, history, music, and legend into poems that teach us how to leave 'dreaming and face the world.' Juxtaposing poems about death with those about love, about life, Griffith allows us to enter other lives through an abundance of sensual detail. With subjects as varied as Livia lacquering figs with poison to kill Caesar, a pastor who hangs himself because he used church money to bet on dogs or running over frogs in Arkansas, Griffith uses words to 'sluice the body down to bone.' Struggling with 'the basic inability of parables or poems to reveal our full flesh,' he describes watching girls dance in The Kudzu Kitten, a wedding proposal during the seventh inning stretch of a baseball game, and a swan abandoned by its mate because he has lost a wing. Knowing that the world will not be tamed, this impressive collection stays centered on human experience. Rob Griffith's compelling poems cleave the heart and then teach it how to heal. -- Vivian Shipley --Vivian Shipley

Rob Griffith's poems have the marvelous quality of belonging comfortably to our day and at the same time to the priceless past. Reading them, one could be listening to a story or a confession in a bar room, hearing almost accidental pattern and rhyme that enrich the telling without suggesting the classroom. Yes. -- Miller Williams --Miller Williams
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Water Press and Media (February 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974452467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974452463
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,452,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Professor of English and prolific poet Rob Griffith makes his debut with his own anthology of poetry in "A Matinee in Plato's Cave", a set of poems focusing on the human experience instead of the nature and environmental element so many poetry collections take on. With poems focusing on all aspects of humanity, "A Matinee in Plato's Cave" is a moving collection indeed, recommended for community library poetry collections. Leaving by Train: The platform, long and black against the green/Surrounding hills, shines with pools of rain/That cast back the clearing sky in cold, Uncertain blues. Alone, he stands and waits,//The quiet morning gone, the 10:15/A dream of steel and light not yet arrived. Though barely spring, delphinium and rue/Burst along the verge, their crowbar roots//Crowding every fissure, every crease and fold, He wonders why his heart, a paper hive/Long empty,/remains immune to change/While the whole prismatic world dissolves. The shoots/Of Tulips tremble in the breeze, still freighted/with rain. He shuts his eyes against the view.
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Format: Paperback
I have been reading Griffith's work for years, and it's good to finally see these strong poems in print. The voice in them is modest and unassuming; yet the self-deprecatory tone and humor (while nice to see) belie a sharp intelligence, a serious moral inquiry, and a careful attention to craft. Nor does that craft divorce the work from reality. Like all good poems, these begin not only delight but also in the palpable details of experience--tombstones, boilers, a fig tree's "black arms," "bumblebees sheathed in ice." There is much to enjoy and learn from here.
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Format: Paperback
Griffith's poems are consistently captivating and sometimes unsettling for their insight into humanity and the range of human emotions. From the solidly narrative to the lyrical, he grounds his words and images with keen perceptions, moving descriptions, and heartbreaking characters. Each poem transports the reader to a new location in the world as well as the psyche.
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