Storm Pattern

Greg Pape, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $0 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8229-3708-1
Pape ( Black Branches ) portrays the American Southwest as a study in contrasts. Ravens ride thermals while bombers streak the azure sky with contrails. His quest for the Native American artifacts buried by modern technology is elegiac, often ironic. In one poem the speaker hears the spirit of a long-gone tribe sing the beauty of a river that has become ``an open sewer'' and celebrates the image of a human hand outlined with ochre paint on a canyon wall. Pape's poems are crowded with such discoveries, some ancient--a potsherd bearing the fingerprints of its maker--and some modern--a cherished Navajo rug in the traditional style known as Storm Pattern. In this title poem, the weaver's pleasure in working with her hands is no solace when the government forces her to sell oil- and uranium-rich land. Other poems take us to different locales--a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles, the Miami River; at their dullest, these are merely diary entries. Pape's most compelling poems are meditations on nature (``A single bird / tries a note, and soon the trees / are full of persuasion'') and, like Native American storytelling, are deceptively simple. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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