The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 12, 1988 - Page .14
A Little Book on the
IBy Robert Bly
Edited by Wiliam Booth
Harper and Row
The latest collection of Robert
Bly's work, A Little Book on the
Human Shadow, is indeed little -
81 pages to be exact - but very
large in scope, thanks to the efforts
of editor William Booth.
Robert Bly has never been known
as a pleasant poet. As Booth says in
his introduction to the collection,
"What Robert Bly's poetry readings
say in effect is, 'You must change
your life."' This collection of
readings, an interview that Booth had
with Bly, along with one of Bly's
essays on Wallace Stevens, is a
more emphatic, direct assault
because Bly's powerful poems are
intermingled with his direct, no-
In this collection Bly undertakes
the idea of the "shadow" - what
Jung described as the unconscious
and others call the dark repressed side
of the ego - that he has been
occupied with for all these years to
create a simple but lucid look at a
philosophical and psychological
The title of the first section,
"Problems in the Ark," refers to the
place where Bly sees the problems of
darkness beginning - "We divide
animals in the Ark into good and bad
...." Bly casts fleeting, thoughtful
shadows of his own experiences and
broadens his view to cover societies
Bly is particularly good at
addressing the way society represses
what it sees as its dark side. Even
more impressively, Bly does not
speak only of predominantly white
Ili li 1 I T M 1 I
cultures. He writes of the Yin-Yang
as an attempt to reconcile the dark
side and the light side within one' s
personality and criticizes the United
States for its unyielding,
ethnocentric view of the world.
"If the American drama begins
with the Puritans killing turkeys,
then Kissinger's and Nixon's
bombing of Cambodia takes place in
the third act. The South Asians,
representing a civilization more
reconciled to the moist dark than
ours, merged . with ghostly
Cherokees or Crows far down in our
He concludes this notion with a
poetic affront - "We distrust every
person on earth with black hair/ We
send teams to overthrow Chief
Joseph's government/ We train
natives to kill Presidents with
blowdarts/ We have men loosening
the nails on Noah's ark."
In the second section, "The Long
Bag We Drag Behind Us," Bly's
thoughts move swiftly - this time
through images - almost to the
point of confusion. He jumps from
image to image, from individual
experiences to political problems,
without any clear connection. But
this seem to be the point that Bly is
making- the repression of darkness
runs rampant, among both
individuals and cultures, and is
directly connected, so connected that
it cannot be separated into a coherent
pattern of occurrences.
His most moving image is that
of "the long bag we drag behind us.,
Bly begins with the two year old
child: "Energy radiated out from all
parts of our body and all parts of our
psyche. A child running is a living
globe of energy. We had a ball of
energy, all right; but one day we
noticed that our parents didn't like
certain parts of that ball ... Behind
us we have an invisible bag, and the
part of us our parents don't like, we,
to keep our parents' love put in the
He continues with the metaphor
until the person becomes an adult:
"So I maintain that out of a round
globe of energy the twenty-year-old
ends up with a slice. We'll imagine
a man who has a thin slice left ---
the rest is in the bag - and we'll
imagine that he meets a woman ...
She has a thin, elegant slice left.
They join each other in a cermony,
and this union of two slices is called
marriage. Even together the two do
not make up one person!"
The next section gives Bly's five-
step plan for retrieving one's
shadow. None of the steps break any
new ground in terms of ideas, but in
terms of relaying these ideas to the
reader, Bly's scenarios are much
clearer and evocative than any
psychobabble could ever be.
The final sections - an interview
with Bly by the editor and Bly's
essay "Wallace Stevens and Dr.
Jekyll" - are more in-depth and
thus more difficult than the other
sections, and for someone reading
about the idea of the shadow for the
first time, they could be somewhat
threatening in comparison with the
rest of the collection.
The best approach to take with A
Little Book on the Human Shadow
is to savor the images and ideas of
the first three sections, come back to
those three, and then move onto the
final two. They'll be worth the wait
and the trouble.
Continued from Page 9
outside help - like the jangly
"Anchorage," mangled by a
schmaltzy arrangement - others
benefit greatly, like "Black Widow,"
given a baroque richness by Kristina
Olson's hammer dulcimer.
Through her use of a variety of
characters and voices, Shocked goes
beyond the literal heavyhandedness
that does in many folk lyricists. On
"Black Widow," the album's musical
and lyrical standout, the narrator
expresses her pain, not through a
litany of self-pity, but by
empathizing with a spider ("Is it the
loneliness of the night/That makes
you reach out and bite/ The
unsuspecting flesh/... You poor,
poor, suffering murderess').
Unfortunately, people will
probably spend too much time
trying to figure out what label to
slap on Short Sharp Shocked to
realize its musical and narrative
power. It's too bad; whether you care
to "place in pop/rock section" or
not, by all means "place in record
Judges, Juries & Horsemen
Ignore the title of this album.
Ignore the free-verse, evils-of-show-
business poem on the inner sleeve.
Ignore the back jacket photo of the
band standing outside their parked
van at the side of a road at dusk,
with a sunbeam silhouetting them as
if preparing them for assumption
Ignore everything which tells you
that this is just another forty
minutes of highbrow, bland
sermonizing and Poetry 101 lyricism
by a bunch of so-serious Brits with
$25 haircuts - this is actually an
album of more substance than style.
The band plays on the tension
between its raw, sparse arrangements
and singer/guitarist Pete Astor's
mellifluous voice. Smooth and slick;
as vitamin D milk spilled on a
linoleum kitchen floor, it is
nonetheless able both to evoke
heartbreaking tenderness on "Never
Been As Good" and "Born
Inbetween" and to eerily set off the
gray, gritty guitar of "Bury Them
But the cool reserve of Astor's
vocals doesn't extend to his guitar
playing, which, though kept leashed
for much of the album, explodes
into life without warning in the
form of the upbeat riff driving the
That Petrol Emotion-like toe-tapper
"Hollow Heart" and the bluesy solo
on "Poison Mind" - smoky and
fluid enough to make Glenn Frey
break his Stratocaster out of shame.
When the contrast between
smoothness and edginess on the
album breaks down, however, the.
album falters; case in point, the
sappy, pick-your-chin-up anthem
"Always the Light." But for the
most part, the Weather Prophets'
musical juxtapositions make for an
album as strange and refreshing as
rain while the sun's out.
The third amazing LP from this
very original avant-pop singer, The
Walking proves that Jane Siberry is
much more than Canada's answer to
England's multitalented Kate Bush.
First of all, Siberry seems more of a
fellow-traveller to Bush's styles than
an imitator. While the somewhat less
talented Sinead O'Connor has broken
the charts with a debut album tied
down to similar post-punk
influences, the obscure S iberry 's
work elicits myriad stylistic
comparisons - but she transcends
them all with a distinctive sound and
a timeless sense for major-key pop
melodies and instrumental
The Walking is complex enough
to intrigue one through repeateI
listenings, too varied and eclectic p
allow simple descriptions. Let e
just say that Sib-erry's beautifu,
voice combines the playful vocal
stylings of Bush with the beatific
melodic lyricism of a Joni Mitche.,
and her open-ended rhythms and
crisp, modern sound bring Peter
Gabriel's So to mind. Her lyrics arc
more picturesque than profound,
stringing together wildly,
impressionistic images. e
Sure, as titles like "Lena is
White Table" suggest, Siberry ha
got strange tendencies--but not just
for the sake of being avant-garde.
Her quirks manifest themselveg
not as reactions against pop stylings
but re-arrangements of pop elemen
into forms that express unusual,
wide-ranging moods; thus,Th'e
Walking could well be accessible
even the mainstream listener. The
more conventional pieces, such ag
"The White Tent the Raft" and "Red
High Heels," are simply gorgeous
and unforgettable pop songs
distinguished by incredibly dens
writing and creative song structures.,,
Siberry'sThe Walking i~
worthwhile as the colorful work of
an uncommonly fertile;
uncompromised musical imagin=
ation. This woman has established 4
medium of expression in thepo
medium completely her own.
of The University of Michigan
The calendar combines meeting, lecture, workshop, and conference announcements
with other events happening each week on campus. It is based on The University Record
calendar, and is open to all University sponsored groups and organizations recognized
by the Michigan Student Assembly. Items must be submitted in writing by 5 p.m. the
Tuesday before publication. Address all information to: Marcia Bennett, publications
assistant, University Record, 412 Maynard St. Asterisk (*) denotes events to which
admission is charged.
Integrity--Lesbian-gay male community open house, 8:45 pm, Canterbury House,
218 N Division. 665-0606.
*Phys Ed--Classes beg; reg 8 am-4:30 pm, 3050 CCRB. 764-1342.
Hatcher Grad Lib-Tours beg, 11 am, 1 & 3 pm, Hatcher Grad Lib. Reg req.
Turner Clinic--Writing grp, 1:30-3:30 pm, 1010 Wall St. 764-2556.
Univer Lutheran Chapel--Prayer, study & fellowship, 7:30 pm, 1511
Lesbian & Gay Rights Organizing Committee (LAGROC)--Mtg, 8:30
pm, 3100 Mich Union. 763-4186.
Zen Buddhist TeMple--Chanting svc, 7-8 pm, 1214 Packard Rd. 761-6520.
Hosp Info Svcs--MCMUG Mtg, J Bell & K Moore, "Microcomputer Data
Transfer for Hospital Budgeting," 3-4 pm, Ford Amphi. 936-4900.
Hosp Volunteers Prog--Mtg for new volunteers, 7-8 pm, Univ Hosp Amphi.
Intl Ctr/Ecumenical Campus Ctr--Forum, G & A Instiful, Report From All
Africa Sdt Conf, noon, 603 E Madison. 662-5529.
Computing Ctr--Courses: Concepts of Word Processing, 10 am-noon, 4003
SEB; Conf Organizer, 1-5 pm, 3001 SEB. Reg req. 763-7630.
Turner Clinic--Divorce after 60, 1:30-4:15 pm, 1010 Wall St, 764-2556.
Women's Crisis Ctr--Volunteer info mtg, 1-2 pm, 306 N Division, 761-9475.
Christians In Action--Mtg, "The Champion," 8:30 pm, Mich Union Anderson
Rm D. 973-6675.
Career Plan & Place--Resume Writing Lec, 3:30-5 pm, 1006 Dow; Recruiting
Prog Info Session, 5:10-6:30 pm, Angell Hall Aud D; Lec, "Get Involved! The
Secret of Your Success," 7-8:30 pm, E Quad Mosher-Jordan & Bursley. 764-
Amnesty Intl--Mtg, 7:30 pm, Mich Union Welker Rm. 971-1674.
Men's Glee Club--Mtg, 6:30 pm, Mich Union Pendleton Rm.
Computing Ctr--Courses in Rm 3001 SEB: MTS Skills, 9 am-noon, Reg req;
Intro to Textedit Pt II, 1-3 pm, Reg req; In Rm 4212 SEB: Intro to
Computing, 1-3 pm, Reg req. In MLB Aud 3: Computer Conf Lec/Demo,
4:30-6 pm. 763-7630.
Russian & E Europ Stds--In Lane Hall Commons: Brown bag lec, Intro to
Grad Lib Collections, noon; Mtg to choose sdt rep, 7 pm.
Turner Clinic--Support grp, "New Outlooks," 10 am-noon; Arch std grp, 1-3
pm; Caring for Aging Relatives, 5:30-7:30 pm," 1010 Wall St. 764-2556.
Sdt Wdshp--Safety Class for new shop users, Pt I, 3-5 pm, SAB, 763-4025.
Career Plan & Place--Lec, "Writing Your CIF," noon-1 pm, CP&P; Intro to
CP&P, 4:30-5 pm, CP&P; Recruiting Prog Info Session, 5:10-6:30 pm, Angell
Hall Aud B; Lec, "Get Involved! The Secret of Your Success," 7-8:30 pm, Alice
Lloyd Couzens S Quad & W Quad. 764-7460.
Hillel Fdn--Jewish Feminist Grp Mtg, 7:30 pm, Mich Union Pond Rm; Hill St
Cinema Mtg, 8 pm, Mich Union Welker Rm. 769-0500.
Hill St Players--Auditions, 4 & 7 pm, Ambatana Lounge S Quad, 769-0500.
Univer Lutheran Chapel--Choir rehersal, 7:45 pm; "Holden Village Vespers,"
9 pm, 1511 Washtenaw. 663-5560.
Dept Psychiatry/UMARC--Sem,C"Under-Recognized Clinical Problems in
Alcoholism," 8:30 am, Towsley Ctr. 764-6187.
*Amb Care Svcs--Prog, "The Role of Estrogen," 7:30-9 pm, 2200 Green Rd.
Reg r e q. 7 6 3- 7 4 8 5.
His House Christian Fellowship--Bible study, singing & prayer, 7:30-9 pm,
925 E Ann.
United Coalition Against Racism--Mtg, 6 pm, Mich Union. 936-1809.
*Zen Buddhist Temple--Intro Meditation Course, 6:30-8:30 pm, 1214 Packard
Rd. Reg req. 761-6520.
*AMISTAD--Concert, C King, 8 pm, 637 1/2 S Main.
U-M Dearborn--Lec, P Koestenbaum, "The Inner Side of Greatness," 3:30 pm;
Film, Wall Street, 7:30 pm, Rec & Organiz Ctr. 593-5390.
U-M Flint--Bring or buy lunch for Pink Panther Festival, 11:30 am-1:30 pm,
Univer Ctr Brewery; Film, Broadcast News, 7 & 9:15 pm, Univer Ctr Kiva.
Regents--Mtg, 1 pm, Regents' Rm.
Hosp Volunteers Prog--Mtg for new volunteers, 4-5 pm, Univ Hosp Rm
Computing. Ctr--Courses in Rm 3001 SEB: MS-DOS Skills, 9 am-noon;
Macintosh Skills, 1-4 pm; Beginning Microsoft Word (IBM PC &
Compatibles), 1-5 pm; In Rm 4212 SEB: Concepts of Spreadsheeting, 10 am-
noon, Concepts of Database Management, 1-3 pm. Reg req. 763-7630.
*Ofc Cont Med Educ--2-day course begs, "Neonatal Emergencies," 8 am-5 pm;
3-day Seminar in Diagnostic Ultrasound begs, Towsley Ctr. Reg req. 763-
Turner Clinic--Shaking the Blues, 1:30-3:30 pm, 1010 Wall St, 764-2556.
Sdt Wdshp--Safety Class for new shop users, Pt II, 3-5 pm, SAB, 763-4025.
Career Plan & Place--Interviewing Lec, 3:30-5 pm, 1006 Dow; Lec, "Writing
Your CIF," 4:10-5 pm, CP&P; Business Intern Mtg, 6-7:30 pm, Rackham Aud;
Gay Liberation--Brothers coffee house, 8 pm, Guild House, 802 Monroe St.
Ctr for Japanese Stds--Films, Tokyo-Ga & The Only Son, 7 pm, Lorch Hall
*AAUW--3-day book sale begs, 10 am, Arborland Mall.
Arch & Urban Plan--Lec, L Krier, "The Construction of the City," 5 pm,
Rackham Lec Hall. 764-1315.
Sch of Art--Opening recep for "Creative Endeavors" exhib, 4-6 pm; Slide Show,
M Doner, "The Poetics of Public Art," 8 pm, Chrysler Aud, 764-0397.
*AAFC--Film, The Manchurian Candidate, 7 & 9:20 pm, MLB3.
Regents--Mtg, 9 am, Regents' Rm.
U-M Flint--Film. Broadcast News, 7 & 9:15 pm, Univer Ctr Kiva, 762-3431.
*ICLE--Wkshp, "Mich Business Corp Act: An Update," 1-3:30 pm, 1020 Greene
St. Reg req. 764-0533.
Lowbrow Astronomers--Mtg, 7:30 pm, Detroit Observ. 434-5668.
Computing Ctr-- Courses in Rm 3001 SEB: Lotus 1-2-3, 8:30 am-12:30 pm; In
Rm 4003 SEB: Intro to Authoving Systems for Macintosh, 10 am-noon; In Rm
4212 SEB: MTS Lec/Demo, 10:30 am-noon; Intro to Computing, 1-3 pm, Reg
Russian & E Europ Stds--Wine & cheese recep, 4:30-7:30 pm, Lane Hall
Turner Clinic--Writing grp, 10 am-noon; Peer counselors mtg, 1-3 pm, 1010
Wall St. 764-2556.
Women's Crisis Ctr/Lesbian Prog Ofc--Women's Tea, 5:30-7 pm, 306 N
Univer Lutheran Chapel--Video & games, 7 pm, 1511 Washtenaw, 663-5560.
Ctr for N East & N Afr Stds--Open house & recep, 4-6 pm, 144 Lane Hall.
Dept Astronomy--Lec, D Richstone, "Does The World End With A Bang Or A
Whimper?" 8:30 pm, Angell Hall Aud B.
Journalism Fellows--Lec, C Gibson, "What's Behind the Weakening of
Network Television," 4 pm, Rackham 4th Fl W Conf Rm. 763-2400.
*Ruthven Planetarium Thtre--Shows: "A Starry Night," 11:30 am; "Voyager
2 at Uranus," 2 & 3 pm. Nat Sci Mus 4th fl, comer Geddes-Washtenaw.
Arch & Urban Plan--Mtg, "City & Suburb," 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Chrysler Engr
*AAFC--Films, Gimme Shelter, 7 pm; The Grateful Dead Concert, 8:40 pm, Angell
*Football--U-M vs Miami, 3:30, Mich Stadium.
Zen Buddhist Temple--Korean svc, 11 am-12:30 pm; Meditation svc, 5-7 pm,
1214 Packard Rd. 761-6520.
*Ruthven Planetarium Thtre--Show: "Voyager 2 at Uranus," 2 & 3 pm, Nat
Sci Mus 4th fl, comer Geddes-Washtenaw. 764-0478.