Lessons in Soaring: Poems

James Applewhite, Author Louisiana State University Press $6.95 (53p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1540-4
``Time and renewal wrestle / In my body,'' writes Applewhite ( Foreseeing the Journey ), and this volume takes that struggle as its subject. Both nostalgia and rage accompany a return to a childhood home; a flying lesson awakens a sense of liberation and a terror of death. Some works succeed wholly, with lines of arresting beauty: ``Help me father, I say as in prayer, to hear / A son's new testament, fairer writ.'' Applewhite uses off-rhyme perceptively, and his language varies from sparse assertions to dense description--but these techniques do not compensate for evasiveness. A poem about a father does not fully address the feelings of the son; a delicate discussion of the heart that juxtaposes cardiology and love fails to twine these two threads. In other works, the problems are more basic: characters, locale and action are obscured to no apparent end; the language is nonspecific (``The landscape moving itself becomes the source / Of my being''), overstated or cliched, or reverts to a personal, hermetic shorthand. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 53 pages - 978-0-8071-1539-8
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