INDEPENDENT VOICES by Eve Merriam

INDEPENDENT VOICES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It Doesn't Always Have to Rhyme but these panegyrics also lack grace, strength and restraint. Seven notable Americans, chosen ""because they seemed to be not heroic,"" are subjected individually to fawning and gimmick-y eulogies. Ben Franklin picks up that leaf of bread in Philadelphia and does enough ""for twenty men!/ . . . Became a city planner,/ and Postmaster Gen."" Elizabeth Blackwell lives through three pages of medical school rejections, several stanzas of Victorian scorn from the ladies of Geneva until ""The perfect happy ending/ came to pass:/ Elizabeth graduated. . ./ . . . at the head of her class."" Also Frederick Douglass, Thoreau, Lucretia Mott, Ida B. Wells (Barnett), La Guardia. There are some better passages (La Guardia's New York where ""Garbage trucks bang./ Honk honk squawk squawk beep beep skureech/ YIKES HEY Whynchamove outathe way?"") but each of the portraits is bloated and seven at a blow is too much.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1968
Publisher: Atheneum