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DISCOVERY by Joseph Brodsky


by Joseph Brodsky

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1999
ISBN: 0-374-31793-3
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Brodsky (for adults, On Grief and Reason, 1996, etc.) challenges the notion that a place—any place—can be truly “discovered” by humans, as if willed into being by their intents and designs. His poem is also, more quietly, a promise of wonder that the world holds in wait for those open to its charms. The book has a Genesis-like, Big-Bang beginning, when “there were just waves/hammering at the obstacles.” Clouds sent down rain, fish came, birds alighted on the new land, “yet they were just pilgrims, and very few/of them evolved into settlers.” By the time Europeans arrived, America was an old place. “They stepped ashore and they rode across/this land of milk and honey,/and they settled in with their many laws,/their cities, their farms, their money.” Although this is a picture book, with collage artwork from Radunsky that is fluent in its rude edges and construction-paper color, the text claims readers’ heed as it signals a gracious, elemental style: “When you are a continent, you don’t mince/words and don’t crave attention.” (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)