A History of Small Life on a Windy Planet: Poems

Martha Collins, Author University of Georgia Press $0 (62p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1504-1
Collins's ( The Arrangement of Space ) stunning graphic poems achieve a perfect balance of the horrific and the playful. ``We bought the guns, our money / burned the crops. / (But hey, kids, we're still / your folks--we name our planes / for girls, our bombs for boys),'' she writes in one poem; another begins with the image of ``the friendly caboose'' passing through farmland and goes on to describe cattle cars carrying children to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. With a few deft strokes, Collins endows the merely topical (the Gulf War, the news story about a murdered woman whose intestines were torn out) with universal dimensions. Poems rewriting fairy tales are every bit the equal of similar efforts by Anne Sexton. The intensity of all of Collins's poems might be their most memorable quality, but such fervor could not be realized if she did not have impeccable facility with language. She delights in wordplay: ``The funeral march is a children's chant: /dum-dum-dum, he is dumb-and-done-and-gone.'' The volume's arrangement expertly juxtaposes related themes, resembling a focussed camera's panning, stopping now here, now there. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 01/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 62 pages - 978-0-8203-1505-8
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