Introduction by Lenny Schulman: It seems to me that no other book published in the new Millenium speaks more to (and about 21st century life (and its horrors) than this first book of poems by neophyte James Wilde. Endless war, insanity, alcoholism, drug-addiction, micro-wave murder, galactic girls, jet-set cannibalism, 5-foot tall mutant rodents, 100-foot tall spidercats, sex with rocket ships, and hit chicks and kangaroo girls are only a small part of his unique vision (and sometimes hilariously funny) vision of hell on earth. He is also sometimes more mundane (IF SUCH A WORD COULD EVER APPLY TO THE WILDE MAN): A touching poem to his old friend Bill Bauhan called The Funeral and one of the very best poems I have ever read extolling a beloved pet called, Frederico Savaggio. Although some of the poems are both desert-stark in word, image and theme, the section of the book called Alley Oop Capers employs word pyrotechnics that dazzle like Jabberwocky and John Lennon. In this mad soup of Lewis Carroll, William Burroughs and Hierymonymus Bosch (like Bosch, Wilde s obsessive and obscene world is haunted by the absence of God) a very James Wildean messiah arrives: Mickey Mouse. Mickey Messiah. And he kicks cat ass from sea to shining sea...stalking she-cats and slitting them fom cunny to throat... (Cat and Mouse). Wilde s messiah is a five-foot rodent with attitude. Or Alley-Oop Capers, which begins: Cave time Stone Clicker Knickers Wacksnival Clack Punters Kapfranknurzels And wetner weasalsbarm Become Alley Ooop caveman Wordplay such as this informs the reader that he is now in the enchanted forest of Wilde (James not Oscar) and that it is a very dark one, indeed. The concluding chorus of poems in Crocodile Shoes is a powerful description of Wilde s four year battle with alcoholism inside and outside of Turkish loony bins. Wilde, the retired foreign correspondent of Time magazine, is a man of immense ambition and ego. He has witnessed a lot of suffering in
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"Canadian, I was Time s bad boy for nearly 41 years, starting as a stringer in Vietnam in 1958. I retired in Istanbul in 2000 after many wars, from bun fights in 1950 s Indochina to the 1991 Gulf War and the Kurdish insurgency. . I posed as a mad monk, while covering the fall of Ceausescu in 1989, sprinkling holy water at trigger happy Securitat roadblocks. I covered the pandemic famines of Africa, walking through a silent Ethiopian valley where over 10,000 lay dying. Wars, genocides, AIDS and magic were my daily bread. I poured dust on my head for five days to gain audience with the Nail of the Universe, Moro Nabe, the Supreme Emperor of the Mossi. I turned 60 during a three-month walkabout in the Congo rain forest seeking pygmies without pants I found them. They had never seen a white man, and I was so beat up they thought I was a sick gorilla. Tours of American maximum security prisons culminated in the Gary Gillmore execution circus. My words on being strapped for execution into Ole Smokey, the electric chair that fried the Rosenburgs, were featured on the1983 Time cover on capital punishment...a first.... "Review:
After spending thirty-two years tracking stories across the world as a journalist for Time magazine, Wilde turns his eye for engaging detail to poetry in this eighty-two poem debut. At Time he reported on conflicts from Vietnam to Iraq, and also wrote in-depth stories about crime and the death penalty in the U.S. Now, in his poems, Wilde demonstrates his familiarity with the life s horror and whimsy, fusing a world-weary tone with a childlike fascination with word play and animal imagery. Cat and Mouse, for instance, marries dark, violent language to cartoon-like visions of armies of cats and mice doing battle. Wilde s work is most successful, however, when it takes on a quieter, elegiac quality, as in The Funeral in which the poet reflects on how his recently deceased friend would be most at home haunting his old country kitchen/ Dispensing wry Socratic wisdom/ With chain smoking hyena coughing. Moments like this provide a moving and intimate glimpse into a thoroughly lived life. --Publishers Weekly
A caveat for prospective readers of James Wilde s poems might be, Forsake all Pollyannaish expectations and respect for pc and cultural taboos, ye who enter here. These poems promise to usher their readers into a memory theatre of imaginative insight the like of which they have never seen. --Mel Kenne, poet
Crocodile Shoes bears witness to a life lived to the full, but also on the edge, in places most of us would fear to go . . . The heart of the book is the third section, Damnation Bird, based on his long experience as a war correspondent. Stark and concise, these are poems that cut to the bone like shrapnel. Unconventual, immediate and uncompromisingly truthful, Wilde s voice is one that deserves to be heard. --John Ash, poet
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Book Description William L Bauhan, Publishing, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0872331377