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February 07, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Stan Rice
Fear Itself
Knopf
Reading "Fear Itself," Stan Rice's
latest collection of poems, brings about
thoughts of Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest
mingway and Ogden Nash. Certainly
t is an odd threesome of influences
but, on the whole, Rice uses them won-
;drfuily. His poetry is often straightfor-
wra mun-lyrical (this is true of all
he bestpoems), but it is always dark
rnd bcoodng.
It s this propensity for the macabre
ta s out most powerfully. His
somimes melodramatic, always in-
tense, themes remind the reader of the
inescapab e bird of Poe's "Raven."
'weverRice, unlike Poe, identifies
andgisreal symbolic value to his
"is" is a fear of death, a fear of
6i, s, and sometimes the child's
ea r known that lies just around
tI rner. Rice, then, has made him-
selfintoan existentialist Poe.
Fostentialist,"however, only in the
nid'f>~ Hemingway. So often in this
t;eDin, the masculine, inexorable
guage recreates the feeling of dread
sent in Hemingway's "A Clean Well-
Lighted Place" or even "The Sun Also
Rises." Rice doesn't complain or whine
-he contemplates and accepts. In lan-
guage, he is also akin to Hemingway.
Though sometimes he seems to wander
within the poem, or appears to not re-
ally know what he is trying to say, Rice
generally delivers a sparse, unpreten-
tious lyric.
When he speaks of childhood fears,
re is no supple imagery that might be
frceived as beating around the bush;
Rice comes right out and, in his child's
voice, states: "I will tell you / Where the
devil lived ... / The padlocked / Iron-
wire tool shed / Where everything /
Was the color of rust." When he is
dealing with other fears, he is equally
pointed: "There is no Hell / There is
only separation / And selfish fear."
When Rice speaks, you know he
Sans.it (or at least thinks he does).
Every word, to him is of deathly impor-
tance (as he puts it: "The vocabulary
was icy, exact"). There are times, how-
ever, when he decides to let down his
guard and play with language just a
little. unfortunately, these are the weak-
est poems in the collection. He some-
times throws in a rhyme or two that,
while sometimes helping to keep the
reader interested, often weaken the over-
*ffect of the poem. This weakening
t easy to comprehend: When a poet's
primary influences are Hemingway and
Poe (or, I might as well admit, Anne
Rice may be an influence - she is his
wife after all) comic rhyming in imita-
tion of Ogden Nash is not a welcome
addition.
In the poem ,"H.D.," Rice responds
to the feminist philosophy of the poet
Hilda Doolittle. On the whole he makes
*ever, complex and, admittedly male
argument, He fills the poem with allu-
siops that both praise and assault
"H.D..'s" ideas. Unfortunately, he makes
the last two lines rhyme. While this
gives a certain weight to the lines, it
does so to the point of undermining
distraction.
Not all his Nash-influenced poems
r failures, however. In a few of the
poems,any of the lines rhyme, and

th1s helps to maintain an upbeat feel.
,instances act as a repose from the
generally brooding lyrics. They are not
the best poems in the book, but as a
small part of the whole they are won-
derful.
"Fear Itself" is unlikely to earn Rice
the fame or respect that his influences
hold. Nonetheless, his is an excellent
collection of poems that only rarely
ltersancgenerally impresses. He pon-
s seemingly eternal questions and
des his thoughts on them in a striking,
sometimes heart-piercing manner. For
the reader to miss "such pleasure" is
probably not a sin, but it would cer-
tainly be a shame.
-James Wilson
Jonathan Dee
The Liberty Campaign
Washington Square Press
I have to admit that lately I've been
avoiding novels with any kind of social
commentary. It's not that I'm feeling
particularly repelled by stories that play
on my conscience. I've just felt a liter-
ary need for complete escapism. To my
delight, Jonathan Dee has found a way

11

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 7, 1996 - 9

. I

K :

to integrate real, thought-provoking is-
sues with an entertaining narrative.
Gene Trowbridge, a 65-year-old ad-
vertising executive, is generally accus-
tomed to the finer things that suburban
life has to offer. From late afternoon
martinis to Sunday mornings immersed
in The Times, he is as comfortable as
any American could hope to be. But
when reporter Sam Boyd shows up in
Trowbridge's front yard with an incur-
able curiosity about his neighbor,
Ferdinand, Gene is left to think about
more than his upcoming retirement and
how he will spend his golden years.
Is it a case of mistaken identity? Or is
Ferdinand really Captain da Silva, a
former Brazilian military officer who
inflicted unspeakable acts of violence
upon people of his own country?
Trowbridge runs into Ferdinand on the
street, and they strike up a conversation
that leads to an unusual kind of friend-
ship. Yet even during their walks on the
Long Island seashore, Trowbridge
yearns to know the truth, though it may
haunt and disturb him forever.
Dee develops his protagonist
Trowbridge skillfully through first-per-
son narrative. It's refreshing to see a
novelist who can create suspense and
believable, interesting characters. All
too often we're given a hair-raising plot
and the most undeniably fictional
people. The true joy in literature is to
discover a slice of real life - even in a
twisted, fast-paced story. Dee is able to
integrate the characters into his own
brand of adventure; Trowbridge, the
well-respected executive, is confronted
with questions of reputation, loyalty,
and the basest instincts that possibly lie
dormant in each and every human be-
ing.
It may be that Dee has tackled too

much at different points within the
novel. Trowbridge's son, Jack, detracts
from the forward motion of the story.
Often we find Trowbridge wallowing
in unrecognized self-pity over his dis-
tinctly awkward relationship with Jack.
There is no real need for Jack to be a
professional athlete. Somehow, it just
seems to be a bit much to have a Brazil-
ian terrorist and a Major League base-
ball player assume such prominent roles.
This novel makes every obvious at-
tempt to stay within the realm of fiction
that mimics real life. On the whole, Dee
is successful in this respect. Some of
the novel's finest moments arise when
Trowbridge reveals many ambiguous
thoughts he had for his wife, Ellie, at
one time. He even discusses his feeble
attempt at starting an affair during his
early years in the advertising business.
When we are allowed to see
Trowbridge's flaws, he seems so real,
so human. Gene Trowbridge is a char-
acter you could or may already know.
Dee has a style that is both readable
and engaging. He creates vivid images
without relying on wordy phrases. His
prose is smooth and well-crafted. He
should be praised for his ability to con-
trast Trowbridge's thoughts with his
words; he speaks with the confident air
of a well-respected ad executive, but he
thinks and feels like any other human
being. The outer-shell is shattered with
the insightful first-person narrative.
The story holds together reasonably
well, though the ending is not alto-
gether satisfying. As a young author,
Dee appears to be headed in the right
direction with this novel. His work
should appeal to a broad range of read-
ers seeking both well-written prose and
some entertaining suspense.
- Matthew Brown

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They have big feet. They're No Doubt, arriving at St. Andrew's tomorrow night with their wild antics and California sound.
It's'o Doubt: Ths goup's on the up

By Use Harwin
Daily Arts Writer
Don't be fooled. Even though the popular single "Just A
Girl" may be your first exposure to No Doubt, don't think that
they're by any means a new band. Contrary to popular
opinion, No Doubt has been together, in some shape or form,
for approximately nine years, maintaining the same core
musicians throughout.
"We were all high school friends at different high schools
around Orange County (California) who, through mutual
acquaintances, just kind of hooked up together," said bassist
Tony Kanal. "When we originally started out we were really
a 'two-tone' ska band. A black guy, a white girl ... this racial
unity. But, in the first year we realized that we wanted to
experiment with
NO DOUBT different styles of
music, sothat was
Where: St. Andrew's Hall when we started
When: Thursday, Feb. 8. Doors to move on."
open at 7:30 p.m. No Doubt's di-
Tickets are sold out. verse sound is un-
derstandab Ie
given the diverse musical interests of each band member.
"Gwen (Stefani, vocalist) grew up with the soundtracks to
'The Sound of Music' and 'Annie.' She's more into the
theatrical side of the music. In her ten-age years she really
got into ska bands ... she worships Madness," Kanal said.
"Tom (Dumont, guitarist) came from a heavy metal back-
ground, so he brought that to the band. Adrian (Young,
drummer) came from a rock background, lots of '70s rock
bands, and I loved Prince so I brought that to the band. Really,
we all listen to all different kinds of music ... we're all over
the place."
Primarily, No Doubt seems to have been influenced by
past ska bands such as The Specials and Madness, though No
Doubt isn't a band that wants to be stuck with a "ska" label.
"We still love ska music but we are not a ska band and we try.
to avoid that label for many reasons. One, because we play so
many different styles of music, and two, because if people
read in the paper that a ska band is coming to town, they're
going to be disappointed with our show. We're definitely a
rock band," Kanal clarified.
In any case, it's highly unlikely that anyone would be
disappointed with No Doubt's rousing live performances.

"We've been a really strong live band and we're proud of our
live shows. When you're doing a live show you have the
audience to feed off of, especially when it's an all ages
general admission show and the crowd is going nuts," Kanal
said. "In addition, it's cool because we have a girl that sings
With a lot of bands, it's atestosterone thing, but at aNo Doubt
show, Gwen definitely will get all the girls involved as well."
Perhaps this inclusion of girls can explain, in part, the
success of the "Just a Girl" single off of "Tragic Kingdom.".
As of now, there is probably not one girl who has not heard
the lyrics, "I'm just a girl /1 'd rather not be /'cuz they won't
let me drive late at night," and felt some sort of deep':
connection with Stefani.
"A lot of Gwen's personal experiences were laid out on
this record. It was a type of catharsis for her, to share her
feelings," Kanal offered."'Just a Girl' is just very sarcastic,
very tongue-in-cheek. She always explains that most guys -
don't realize what being a girl is about. But, she also says that'
she would never want to be anything else."
Overall, the entire "Tragic Kingdom" album is excellent,;
though it took a lot of time to complete. "We started the first
recording of the album back in 1993 and then we went
through a lot of political stuff with our. label, so we didn't
actually finish recording until the summer of 1995. It wasn't
like we were in the studio for the whole two years, but we
were definitely in and out for two years," Kanal said.
Despite the lengthy process, No Doubt is more than happy
with the way the album has turned out. "We're really, really
proud of it," Kanal said. "We've always had a really hard3
time going into the studio and capturing our live energy, but
we are absolutely pleased with the way it turned out."
In addition, No Doubt gained a new perspective on the
music industry after finishing recording. "We've learned that
you really have to appreciate each day as it comes and focus
on the things that you can control; the live shows, the music,"
and all those other things around us that we can keep under"
control," Kanal shared.
.No Doubt has also learned how to produce a better, more
mature album. "Everyone did the songwriting together this
time. We all sat down together and everyone wrote. A lot
more than had happened before," Kanal said. As a result, a
tremendous album was produced, one that experimented
See DOUBT, Page 10

Stop by Daily Arts for some free stuff!
The Daily Arts section will be giving away an assortment of free - that's right,
free - movie posters to all readers and fans and whoever else has the energy to
simply walk into our lovely office. We have posters from all sorts of recent films
such as "Black Sheep," "Restoration," "Beautiful Girls," "Father of the Bride 11"
and "Home for the Holidays," among many others. They're just sitting here,
waiting for you to use them to decorate your humble abode. Come to the Arts
office in the Student Publications Building, 420 Maynard St., after noon today to
pick up your souvenir from this massive giveaway. You know you deserve it.

Meet your Deans and
LSA-SG Reps Day!
Come to the Fishbowl and meet the Deans
of the College of LS&A and your college
student government representatives.
When: February 7th
Time: 11-4pm
(Deans present from 12-1pm)
Where: The Fishbowl
Seven Deans will be present,
including Edie Goldenberg
S nsored by:
T1
This summer you can
speak Russian, meet Jefferson,
and get to know Billy Wilder...
Whether to catch up, get ahead, or get out, Columbia University
is the place to be this summer. The Summer Session offers an
extensive range of graduate and undergraduate day and evening
courses in the Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences.

10

Our '96 offerings include:
Business Careers institute (certificate program
preparing liberal arts graduates for business
school or for careers in the business world)
* FEst Asian music. histo anr literature

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