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Sunday, July 17, 2011

More Book Love

A standing ovation for each of the three books I've recently finished.

Poetry first. Morton Marcus's The Dark Figure in the Doorway: Last Poems, published in Buffalo by White Pine Press, is old man poetry (one of my favorite genres). You know the challenge there - to keep the wisdom fresh and to use a light touch. Marcus does these things with flourish, and humor, and memorable imagery. Here is a poem from Section III: All We Can Do:

ROCKS AND TREES

At dusk, the rocks, huddled in hoods, rise from their knees and scurry forward. Rocks lean toward the dark; it is their preference. All day kicked by hooves, crushed by wheels, they hold fields in place, anchor our shadows. Now they hurry off to their own lives.

Even the trees rise, like ballerinas in heavy coats, and stride on tiptoe to their lovers' homes, like the farmhouse in the valley where the little boy taps on the window as they pass.

Waiting for Snow in Havana is one of the best memoirs I've read. Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 Cuban children put on planes by themselves and sent to the U.S. shortly after Castro's revolution. Seeing unfolding events from the point of view of a privileged boy is an intriguing point of view. Eire's quirky family (is that redundant?) makes for terrific character development. The real violence of the revolution is like thriller movie music in the background, and as the neighborhood boys try out on each other various torture techniques they learn from American Westerns, we know how much is at stake.

I'm almost done with Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. Gore has been mocked by the power brokers he challenges, but this doesn't diminish his powerful and insightful message. In our national dialogue, we are often at a loss for specific information, and cause and effect. We should all read this book. Agree or not with Gore on how to proceed, we should have the information in this book to inform the conversation.

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