New and Selected Poems
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paper 0-8214-1222-1 Cassity adds over 40 new poems to selections from his previous seven volumes in this formidable collection, spanning some 30 years of versifying by a mostly unheralded master. This self-styled curmudgeon also includes some uncollected poems from a sequence based on the —Flash Gordon— comic strip and a series of poems on military life—both of which give a good indication of Cassity’s unusual range in subject, as well as why he’s probably been overlooked by most critics. An itinerant poet, surveying mankind from Curacao to Indonesia, he turns his gimlet eye on the ironies of colonialism (—Rondo on the Rio Negro—), the persistence of faith (—The Mount of the Holy Cross—), and the politics of architecture (—Architecture 101”). As jaded as Naipaul, as funny as early Waugh, Cassity turns phrases upside down, and pieties inside out, in forms that are at once pithy and meticulous. He baits readers with his deliberately unfashionable statements (on commerce, labor, homelessness, meat-eating, and the novelist James Jones) and appeals to the antique notions of Folly, Fortune, and Time. For this cynic, aware that sin is —our beginning,— humor is a fit ending, and he provides it bitter and sweet.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8214-1221-3
Page count: 246pp
Publisher: Ohio Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998