Enemies of Leisure

John Gery, Author, John Grey, Author
John Gery, Author, John Grey, Author Story Line Press $10.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-885266-01-9
Hardcover - 978-1-885266-09-5
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Gery's first collection is as richly contradictory as ``the spirit, the American ghost'' that his poems give shape to. The ideals of ``those cowboys of whom we are/ so proud'' seem both celebrated and duly exorcised. The question ``What Are Chores?'' becomes a meditation on timelessness and idleness; throughout, images from middle-American life may appear as subversive hallucinations. Adding depth to the frame-by-frame panorama is Gery's frequent, subtle use of traditional meters and forms (in particular, iambic pentameter and rhymed quatrains), rendering an edgy, hard-won elegance to the lines. The struggle between leisure and work is examined through layers of old-fashioned lyricism, political metaphor and real-life contexts; this tension can, as is suggested in ``Pandora's Gift,'' be cause for wry rejoicing: ``...And what of us, if from the first/ our evil had been ordinary,/ our songs not beautiful, our hearts not cursed?'' (June)
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