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Goshen Public Library and Historical Society

Across the Desk

by Janet Hamill

April 21, 1999

April is National Poetry Month, especially at the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society. The walls are posted with photos of great American poets of the past and the thriving, talented poets of today's Orange County. Sides of steel bookcases are being utilized as mounting boards for Magnetic Poetry, giving all of our patrons the opportunity to tap their inner poet. A series of eight, unprecedented programs brings the sound of voices celebrating the spoken word to the main library reading room and meeting room. And to the degree that we can house them, the shelves are teaming with volumes of verse.

On the shelves of current non-fiction are three excellent new books of poetry. The Wild Card: Selected Poems, Early & Late by Karl Shapiro is a collection of enduring works by one of America's major twentieth-century poets. Edited by Stanley Kunitz and the late David Ignatow, Wild Card is evidence of Shapiro's enduring ability in a variety of styles and forms. Alays with essential rhythm and lyricism, he treats subjects ranging from commonplace objects and occurrences to biting political commentary. The poems in this collection, written in the years 1945-92, are among the best by this U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Bollingen and Pulitzer prizes. Eavan Boland's The Lost Land is the latest collection by one of Ireland's most important poets. With subtle craft and finely attuned emotion Boland merges private and mythic history to examine our notions of history, politics and nationalism. Divided into two sections, "The Colony" and "The Lost Land," these poems are Boland's private account of the land beyond time and place where human experience comes to be stored. Sian Harrison's The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems is a volume by one of America's most original contemporary voices. Like Theodore Roethke, another poet from rural, northern Michigan, Harrison writes of plant and aninial life with the kind of familiarity that comes from long and close observation. Relying of the toughness of his vision and intensity of feeling to form his poems, Harrison's work is both a tribute to his mentors, Whitman and Lorca, and the next logical step.

Making its debut at the library during National Poetry Month is the library's permanent collection of books by area poets. Books by sixteen of the regions most accomplished poets are now available for circulation. Of note is this collection are Katharine Assante's October's Child, Fred Buell's Full Summer, Howard Horowitz's Close to the Ground, Mary Makofske's The Disqppearance of Gargoyles, and Jim Tyack's A Limousine To Nowhere.

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