IN GRAVITY NATIONAL PARK: Poems by C.L. Rawlins

IN GRAVITY NATIONAL PARK: Poems

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A scientist and writer on the environment (Broken Country, 1996) speaks plainly in verse that properly belongs in this series devoted to literature of the West. A regionalist in the best sense, Rawlins embraces the ferocity and majesty of nature, and ends all his poems with a location, though it's not clear whether the place indicates where he's writing about or where he wrote the poem, so it seems an affectation. He's also guilty of an occasional pose in his tough-guy poems about cowboy bars and lonely nights. Rawlins respects the natural world, ""where nothing listens, and the real work begins,"" and hopes to describe as it is: large-scaled, dangerous, and marvelous, whether he's watching grouse mate out of season, or communing with the spirit in a cathedral-like forest. ""Solva Trona Mine, June 30, 1994,"" a long poem describing his descent into a vast underground, hauntingly captures the panic and awe he experiences 1600 feet below. Rawlins's tales of fire and death respect the land with the same anarchic realism as Edward Abbey, whom he eulogizes as a dessert saint. Rawlins's occasional sops to sentiment and self-pity never undermine his larger goals: to catalogue the miraculous in the natural world he knows so intimately.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0874173221
Page count: 78pp
Publisher: Univ. of Nevada