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Into It: Poems by Lawrence Joseph
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Into It: Poems

by Lawrence Joseph

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I was attracted to this book because it has impressions of Detroit. And when I read it, I could put myself back in Detroit, where I lived for 18 years. These may not be meaningful to everyone, but something clicked when I read "I note in a Notebook" this: ... A figure, in the factory / behind the Jefferson Avenue Assembly marking and filing the parts of the new model prototype / Chryslers... I worked with the bus company whose garage was in the shadow of this auto plant and can imagine the scene with Lawrence Joseph.
"Woodward Avenue" is the big street in Detroit, and the poem starts off calling it "The destination, the destiny, a street,/ an avenue." For us who lived there, it was the destiny of the city, even if withered at this point.
I also resonated with some lines in "In the Shape of Fate over my Father's Birth." I worked in pulbic transport in Detroit, and can well imagine hearing "The Trumbull streetcar screeched/ on the switch. The ratttling, old yellow Pwl Cars late at night..."
9/11 is to some degree is memorialized in "Why Not Say What Happens", "this cloud ... isn't only ash and soot", it's everything including fear and memory. ( )
  vpfluke | Dec 20, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374175691, Hardcover)

Strikingly contemporary new work by an acclaimed poet

Into It, Lawrence Joseph's fourth book of poems, is as bold a book as any in American poetry today-an attempt to give voice to the extremes of American reality in the time since, as Joseph puts it, "the game changed."

Joseph's first three books dramatized the challenge of maintaining one's self in a world in the hold of dehumanizing forces. The new book finds him in a time and place where "the immense enlargement / of our perspectives is confronted / by a reduction of our powers of action"-where the word "wargame" is a verb and "the weight of violence / is unparalleled in the history / of the species." Along the New York waterfront, on a crowded street, at the site where the World Trade Center stood: Joseph enters into these places to capture the thoughts and images, the colors and feelings, and the language that give the present its pressured complexity. Few contemporary writers have been able to shape this material into poetry, but Joseph has done so masterfully-in poems that are daring, searching, and classically satisfying.
Into It is a new work by a poet of great originality and scope.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:41 -0400)

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