Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010



Turner Cassity


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By Turner Cassity Swallow Press (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0804010501, 10/2002) Poetry isn’t much thought of as a participatory art form, but it is, as critical discussion of voice and tone, which the reader must conjure up, implicates. Form may also ask for participation. Tight metrical and rhyme schemes can require poets to pare language to the bone, and readers to determine the precise meanings of words and syntactical tactics. In poem after poem, Cassity disciplines himself to form, and those who would read him with real comprehension may find immediate rereading necessary—and ever so rewarding. For Cassity regards everything with a cool, dissecting eye, and he exercises verbal and rational cleverness. He brooks no pretension and no romanticizing, even in himself. He well knows what would have happened to Rimbaud had he settled down (see “Boxcar Arthur, the Sequel”). He cuts the crap out of a shopworn parable (see “In the Receiving Line”), out of revolutionary cant (see “Karl and Julius and Gregory; or, Are You a Fructidor?”), and, breathtakingly, out of pseudopatriotic piety (see “WTC”). He is a national treasure. —Ray Olson. Booklist. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

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