cover image Earth Apples = (Pommes Des Terre): The Poetry of Edward Abbey

Earth Apples = (Pommes Des Terre): The Poetry of Edward Abbey

Michael McCurdy, Edward Abbey. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-312-11265-3

Best known for his nonfiction, the late Abbey (Desert Solitaire) was not a poet, and didn't claim to be one, but did write poetry. This book is his first collection. It may interest Abbey's fans, but not poetry readers, for the most part-too much of the writing is self-consciously rhetorical, doggerel-like, or Victorian in sentiment (though not in the sexually frank poems, more energetic and reminiscent of Bukowski). Occasionally Abbey seems to have relaxed and written in a serenely evocative way about desert landscape (``American Picnic'') or with moving simplicity and directness to honor and acknowledge a beloved person (``Love Poem''). More often, though, cornball humor needs decanting here, and overwritten ditties beg for prose translations. A few prose poems are also included. McCurdy's black-and-white prints are, as usual, exquisite. (Sept.)