In his introduction, Clanton says, “Approachable poetry is what I write,” and most readers will agree, though the...

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CONVERSATIONS OVERHEARD IN A RESTAURANT

POEMS

Clanton’s collection of poetry spans decades of work and surveys a range of subject matter and emotion through pleasing images and flights of fancy.

The first poem, “Geometry of Clouds,” ends with the directive from its flight attendants “not to dare / to find patterns in what we cannot hold, and / not to fall in love with the transient air.” Clanton’s poems, and poetry in general, the work suggests, is meant precisely for that—to help its readers find those patterns, to invite them to fall in love with fleeting things. And therein lies poetry’s worth, as Clanton shows his reader again and again, in poems that express, through a compelling combination of transcendence and sensuality, underlying themes of both letting go and holding on. From bedrooms to kitchens to big skies and city streets, these poems find narrators highly observant of the world around them and constantly seeking ways to connect that world to an inner life, as in the last notes of “Orange Julius, 1972”: “taut memory / poured like pulpy orange sweetness in our eyes.” Clanton’s book is rife with such unexpected and delightful rhetorical moves emboldened by a clear command of lyric and line. The accumulation of these poems, however, becomes repetitive, likely for a number of reasons, including the limitations of a very similar first-person narrator as well as a parallel quality of setting and subject matter. Throughout these collected explorations, there is a heightened sense of optimism at the oddities life presents. Such a view is enlivening, but without components of levity to anchor it, it becomes a challenge to become fully invested in the world of these verses.

In his introduction, Clanton says, “Approachable poetry is what I write,” and most readers will agree, though the approachability sacrifices the depth found in a more carefully organized and varied collection.

Pub Date: July 29, 2010

ISBN: 978-1449042806

Page Count: 144

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2010

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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