A Short History of the Island of Butterflies

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9780140585544: A Short History of the Island of Butterflies

Poems consider the night, mortality, the past, writers, sunlight, winter, travel, love, politics, memory, and blizzards

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From Publishers Weekly:

While Christopher's second lyric collection is as bright and scintillating as his 1982 On Tour with Rita, he relies less on cleverness and more on skill in imagemaking for its effects. Christopher has a marked taste for the exotic, whether Paros, Verona, Albania or the imaginary island of the title. Even the Middle American prairie land of "Sunday, Looking Westward" takes on a strange light and coloration under his scrutiny, just as his "Public Gardens" has a Rousseau-ian aspect. At home in his native Manhattan, "I could be in Atlantis, plunging to sea-bottom/ atop a mass of towers and rubble . . . Or what I think I see already may have disappeared,/ transposedlike Rome's powerto Byzantium. . . . " He cast himself in the role of the traveler who must "pay close attention/ to the intricate landscapes unfolding/ beyond the eye." The poetry is lush and adventurous. Christopher is both original and gifted. U.K. rights: Viking Penguin; translation rights: Melanie Jackson. January
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Christopher's poems display the qualities of Romantic landscape painting: luxuriant detail, a grand solemnity, intimations of the fantastic. Together, they compose an orchard of exotic, richly colored fruit that can be described but never tasted, poems meant to be seen "not as reflections/ but fiery constructions rushing across/ the imagination's map in search of definition" ("Crossing Pharos at Dawn"). Such genteel invention works best when applied to incongruous subjects ("Cardiac Arrest," "Construction Site, Windy Night") but risks preciousness elsewhere. An over-reliance on declarative sentences and phrase-broken lines makes one wish for more rhetorical variation. As objects for the mind's eye, however, these poems canlike scenic vistas"fuel/ our passage away from ourselves." Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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