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Edward Abbey continues to grow in stature as one of America's funniest and most profound twentieth-century writers. Brooding, iconoclastic, prophetic, Abbey was principally known as a prose writer, the author of such legendary works as The Monkey Wrench Gang, Desert Solitaire, and The Brave Cowboy.
Although Abbey rarely published his poetry, he was, unbeknownst to his loyal and often fanatical public, a passionate producer of verse, and these seventy-one original poems - never before published in any form (although several were rejected by the leading magazines of the nation) - offer an insightful and wrenching look into the mind of this great man known to some as "Cactus Ed." To read these poems, all written between 1952 and 1989, and culled from his Journals, is to feel the ineffable, irrefutable essence of Edward Abbey. The poems frequently alternate between the joy and pain that marked his life, and all brandish his immutable character and nonconformity.
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Agrarian sagebrush writer Abbey (1927-89) is best known for irreverent essays and novels. Editor Petersen here collects Abbey's unpublished verse, written from 1951 to 1989 and contained in 21 volumes of journals. The result is disappointing. When Abbey leaves the Southwest, his verse becomes compassionless and vulgar. Insecurity with selfhood and a fear of cities undermine his creativity. However, in the Arizona desert, his homespun style blossoms into plaintive eloquence, and he responds to the wilderness with a keen eye. In a poem about rural poverty, there's authenticity beneath clumsiness, as cliches and a sense of deprivation mingle with a lovely line: "the first muskrat in my trap-line, frozen with ice." A post-Holocaust James Whitcomb Riley, Abbey has a tiny but legitimate poetic ability. Perhaps a "Cactus Ed" Reader with selections of his best work would more fairly represent him. Not recommended.
--Frank Allen, West Virginia State Coll., Institute
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
One would expect Abbey's poetry to be embarrassing, and it is. Unlike the poetry of Ernest Hemingway, which is scatological, too, but often clever, Abbey's poetry reveals the man at his worst: chasing after young things (who, to be sure, chased after him), venomous toward other writers, and elitist about his precious West. There's one pleasing diatribe here, "A Simple-Minded Song of Hatred," in which Abbey unleashes his many years of hating New York, the "vampire city," the "Island of madness! Death ship! Concrescence of sickness, sore point, needle of lunacy"--you get the drift. New York bashing is a tired sport, however, and even Abbey's claims over the years that the Manhattan literati didn't appreciate him rang hollow, since there were about as many New York critics celebrating him as bashing him. Now that the man is dead--and with, it would seem, so few candidates to choose from--they're turning him into a saint. Buy this if you must. John Mort
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Book Description St Martins Pr, New York, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Michael McCurdy (illustrator). 1st Edition. "The only collection of Edward Abbey's poetry that has ever been or will ever be published". Book and BroDart protected jacket are fine, without faults. This unread copy is gift quality. First edition / first printing. Ships in bubble wrap in box. Seller Inventory # BX101-8
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Condition: New. Michael McCurdy (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0312112653
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0312112653
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110312112653