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The Volcano

Copper Canyon. Nov. 2010. c.81p. ISBN 9781556593260. pap. $16. POETRY
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"And everything ends/ in a world of symbols." Dubie's poems reflect the volcanic nature of the contemporary world, the volatility of war and rumors of war, the unpredictability of the natural world, skewed by science and ruined by society's incessant needs. Largely narrative, these poems inhabit locales like South Boston or Tibet or Decatur, IL, and welcome literary and scientific figures alike. Many poems juxtapose the author's observations—real or imagined—after tragic events, also real or imagined. The intense and nearly hallucinatory poems make this book both difficult and fascinating: "with the drown nun,/ her back arched over a tree limb, caked/ to white mud—a heavy moth between her legs." Many of these poems deal with the off-kilter, whether the result of disaster or humanmade folly or environmental evils. In Dubie's sphere, anything can happen, and when it does, he brings it to readers in excruciating and exquisite detail. "The wind turns pages/ in the old book of changes./ And everything ends/ in a world of symbols./ Everything ends in a world of regret."
VERDICT A challenging but necessary book.

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