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February 22, 1985 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-22
Note:
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BOOKS

COVER

Free advice on free verse

Journalists get a break

Pages 3, 4

Pages 10,11

Journalists in Residence is a University program
for outstanding mid-career journalists. Although it
recently survived devastating budget cuts, it is
highly regarded throughout the country. Daily staff
writer Carla Folz offers this interesting and insight-
ful look into the program. The cover photo of
program director Graham Hovey (standing) and
guest speaker Andrew Barnes, Editor and President
of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times was taken by
photographer Stu Weidenboch.
ENTERTAINMENTS
Ann Arbor happenings Pages 5-9
This is a handy guide to this weekend's events.
From current and second-run films to music to
eateries, the Happenings section - features
everything you need to know for everything you'd
want to do.

Three recently published collections of poetry are
the subjects of this week's Books section. Weekend
Book Editor Andy Weine scrutinizes, analyzes and
comments on new poetic works by Molly Peacock, S.
Ben-Tov, and Gerald Stern.
Comments and contributions
to Weekend are welcome and
should be directed to the
Weekend Magazine Editors
(call 763-0379).

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Moving away from the grimness of
here earlier poems, her later poems
bear a faint glimmer of hope and
resolve. For her, home transforms
from a place of nightmarish memories
to where the will becomes visible,
separation becomes a power to wield,
and old times become controlled - all
through letting loose a drive to feel. In
all, it is an exalting and exhilerating
journey. Peacock stumbles in a few
points, however. She tends infrequently
to overstatethe obvious. For instance,
in "Cut Flower," she writes that in cut-
ting it, I cut myself - of course, of
course. Another poem ends too bluntly
with, I knew this was my childhood
search. But overall her poetry shines
and can easily stir andy soul, with a
stylized form rarely seen these days.
The sonnet may suit some poets, but
there is poetry so intense and outspoken
that it won't be shackled by the
slightest hint of formal poetic struc-
ture, such as the poetry of S. Ben-Toy,
whose first volume of poetry is chilling
and wonderfully promising.
Even more so than Peacock, Ben-
Tov is wholly melancholic and tristine,
possessed by sadness that goes deeper
than her bones. But Ben-Tov's torment
transcends the confines of herself, for
she grieves over things around her: the
ghost of a student executed by
Khomeini's regime, an Auschwitz
survivor, victims of terrorist bombings
in Israel, and the ominous threat of
Death's Franchise, nuclear arms.
Ben-Tov cuts her mark cleanly and
powerfully with each poem, and they all
are like bitter blossoms and stark
skeletons standing open to the sky.

She wrenches beauty out of immens
grief and looks beyond herself to realiz
her membership among women, withi
Israel and within the world at large.I
is the kind of socially relevant an
politically responsible poetry that
sorely needed today and has been pra
ticed by too few, most notably Caroly
Forsche, Denise Levertov, and Alle
Ginsberg.
Ben-Tov, American-born but strongl
Israeli, recounts that girls can't b
paratroopers and that at the Wester
Wall, women stand behind an iro
grid. In another poem, she writes,,
bomb blows in the super market. .
only one woman is hurt. She lost he
husband in '56, her son in '67; no
she has lost her legs. Everyone ca
her brave. And when the dust has se
tled from that poem, she returns to con
template her father, who was the inven
for of Israel's first rocket-bomb.
Even her reflection on herself brin
one back to larger themes, as in he
nightmare of bombings at abortionis
clinics, and in another of women it
cages. Visiting her alma mater, sh
wonders, Does nothing change bu
myself, bare of any shining thin
but scars? She wonders what. sh
possesses after her schooling, and so do
we all. Her portrayal of academia i
subtly scathing, with a blood c
cataract over the dawn, a legislato
with scaffold shoulders, and trustee:
walking by in square suits like ai
conditioners.
Fantasy and dream renew the poet
Flying in an airplane, she dazes or
Amelia Earhart, who looms eerily t
guide the poet up where nothing mat

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Weekend
Friday, February 22, 1985
Volume II, Issue 18
Magazine Editors ................... Paula Dohring
Randall Stone
Associate Magazine Editors ........Julie Jurrjens
John Logie
Magazine Staff:J
Joshua Bilmes, Neil Galanter, Debbie Gesmundo
Diane Melnick, Sarah Rosenberg, Joyce Welsh
Arts Editors........ ............. Mike Fisch
Andrew Porter

Associate Arts Editors.......Michael Drongowski
Movies Ars.E.. s.....................Byron L. Bull
Music ..........................Dennis Harvey
Books .......................Andy Weine
Weekend Marketing Coordinator. Miriam Adler
,Sales Manager .........:.......Dawn Willacker
Sales Representatives:
Steve Friedlander, Debby Kaminetsky, Cynthia
Nixon, Leslie Purcell, Jenny Matz, Kathleen
O'Brian, Meg Margulies, Mary Anne Hogan,
Sheryl Biesman, Mark Bookman, Leigh Schlang,
Peter Giangreco

Weekend is edited and managed by students on the
staff of the Michigan Daily at 420 Maynard, Ann Ar-
bor, Michigan Daily 48109.
Weekend, (313) 763-0379 and 763-0371; Michigan
Daily, 764-0552; Circulation, 764-0558; Display Adver-
tising, 764-0554.
Copyright 1985, The Michigan Daily.

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g ters but the truth, and beyond where
.r letters of a molten language still
t struggling with a rainbow. Sirens ap-
n pear not to swoon but to hauntingly call
e to the women, we know you, we know,
t we know. Finally, the poet shares
(g utter weariness and rejuvenating
e strength of the biblical prophetess
o Miriam, who walks out in the desert
s darkness, in search of a green beyond.
Throughout Ben-Ton's spirited poetic
r journey, her skills with language daz-
s zle, as if in dusky light.
r In contrast to Peacock's finely craf-.
ted introspective verse, and Ben-Toy's
. slashing worldly fury, Gerald Stern's
n poetry seems to limp and stagger. With
o several collections behind him, Stern
-_ would invite you to expect something
more than what he has offered.
Reading his new collection, Paradise
Poems, is like opening a package with
too many wrappings and not much in-
side.
The linguistic wrappings are okay -
Stern has the skills of language and
metaphor, as seen in lines like I am
listening to the worms for song, and
My old enemy the blue sky is above
me. My old enemy the hawk is
moving slowly through the string of
white clouds. But for all his fine words
there's little substance and lots of
second-hand emotion. He writes of his
shifting emotions, his cocking his head
his weeping and wailing, and his two
red lips opening and closing again,
look at them singing and dancing. .
. But just what is it that moves him in
these quiet ways?
We never seem to know. The
emotions hang vaguely, without cause
or spark. "It's nice to Think of Tears"
never tells us why the tears. "Singing"
mourns the poet living in silence, in
darkness under ice, later singing
beautifully, but why, why, why?
More than riddled with emotional
fallacies, his poetry ... how do you say
it? ... seems to lack spirit, substance,
and anything important to sy, at least to
this reader. Too many lines -
especially first ones - just don't work.
One poem begins, I'll never forget
that small red dog in Mexico ... and
already I want to forget it. Bland or
emptily sentimental, others begin: I
am going over my early rages again,
and IfI were to pick one bird to love
forever, it would be the desert
sparrrow, sh 2etest thing. . .. Like
wow, gag me with mushy metonymy.
A few of his poems spark some in-
terest, such as his encounter with W.H.
Arden, that magician who should
realease me now, whom I release

any
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reaching th
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port. Wher
Reagans,
we've no id
and disaster
Stern's p
private joke
bulges wit
musicians,
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you out in th
of them. St
and warb
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too distant,
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2 Weekend/Friday, Febduary *22,18-f
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