This Death by Drowning

William Kloefkorn, Author University of Nebraska Press $25 (155p) ISBN 978-0-8032-2736-1
Memoirs are so pervasive now that readers can be forgiven for approaching the genre with some caution. Is there any human corner left to illuminate? To surprise? Absolutely, as these wondrous recollections by poet Kloefkorn (Treehouse) prove. This slim volume is filled with provocative perceptions garnered from daily life. He is the epitome of his own philosophy that everyday experience is part of an education he hopes never. Kloefkorn is ""haunted by waters,"" a state of mind that is in no way depressing despite the title. The rivers and ponds of the Midwest--especially of Nebraska and Kansas--captured him early in life, literally, as he and a younger brother each take a turn at nearly drowning. Water fills his imagination as when he writes about how to know a river or when he quotes Mark Twain, other poets, himself, on the subject. Phrases recur when describing water--its mystery, its danger, its irresistible draw that transcends generations. Readers will meander with Kloefkorn as he drifts down a river, shows his 4-year-old granddaughter how to whittle a staff or gazes at an ice-locked river. Kloefkorn, like Norman Maclean and Loren Eiseley ""and probably untold others, has a fear of water he loves not to resist."" He learned early and forever ""the intricacies of water--its glories, its jests, its riddles."" And he writes about them in such a way that after the last line, readers will turn back to page one and start again, slowly. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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Paperback - 155 pages - 978-0-8032-7799-1
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