Chapbk for Burt Out Priests

Cemetery Dance Publications $35.17 (0p) ISBN 978-1-58767-010-7
Reviewed on: 07/01/2001
Release date: 07/01/2001
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For Bradbury enthusiasts, religionists and nearly everyone else, here's a delightful scrapbook of poems and essays, familiar summations but no less vital from a brilliant young fantasist grown older but not old. A ""fallen-away Baptist,"" Bradbury has found a faith localized in a man-centered universe. Without recourse to the stylistic mannerisms that have made him prey to parody throughout his long career, he preaches with heartfelt urgency a return to space as an antidote to war. In essays he reimagines his lifelong idols, George Bernard Shaw and Herman Melville (GBS as a potential fan of Singing in the Rain, the ""only science fiction musical film""; Ishmael as space voyager). His poems, the bulk in free verse, are no less exhilarating and infectious. One opens with an ""apeman"" sketching ""science fictions"" on cave walls while another addresses the modern ""dichotomy"" between Einstein and Christ (""Try this for size;/ A bit of both?""). There is humor, insightful in ""Eccentrics Must Truly Have Loved God. They Made So Many of Him"" and playful in ""Has Anyone Ever Seen Anyone Reading in the Christian Science Reading Rooms?"" (He concludes with a poignant image of the ghost of ""Mary Baker eddying/ In pools of liquid ectoplasm.../ Reading her own stuff."") Bradbury hails Shaw: ""GBS!"" The future will add: ""Ray!"" (Apr.) Forecast: Bradbury, honored at last year's National Book Awards, won't lure many mainstream poetry readers, but fans who have been disappointed by the weakness of his more recent work may batten on to this unusual volume.
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