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Books Briefly.

Byline: The Register-Guard

In Search of Ancient Oregon:

A Geological and Natural History

By Ellen Morris Bishop

(Timber Press, 288 pages, $39.95)

If every Ph.D. geologist could write and use a camera as well as Ellen Morris Bishop, rock science would be a very popular subject. When was the last time you picked up a geology text that started like this?

``Once upon a time, when dinosaurs roamed Montana and pterosaurs ruled the skies, there was no Oregon. In those days, more than 100 million years ago, Pacific waves broke on Idaho shores. ... The oldest rocks of Oregon lay far offshore, gathering as coral-fringed islands in a shallow tropical sea.''

Morris received her Ph.D. in geology from Oregon State University. She's taught at Eastern Oregon University, Lewis and Clark College and Marylhurst University and has worked as a newspaper columnist and science writer. All that experience shows in this appealing large-format book.

The text is enhanced by more than 200 color photographs taken by Bishop, using large- and medium-format cameras, and sometimes panoramic and 35 mm cameras. Many are downright stunning, and all are informative.

"In addition to a meaningful and thought-provoking balance of color and form," Bishop writes, "geological images should evoke time that exceeds our experience, and scales that dwarf our imagination." Hers do.

Pick this book up off the coffee table, and it will be hard to put down.

The author will give a lecture and slide show at 7 p.m. Monday at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette St.

Every War Has Two Losers:

William Stafford on Peace and War

Edited by Kim Stafford

(Milkweed Editions, 168 pages, $16)

Raising Our Voices: An Anthology

of Oregon Poets Against the War

Edited by Duane Poncy

and Patricia McLean

(the habit of rainy nights press,

158 pages, $10)

Tuesday is Veterans Day, a good day for thinking about war and peace.

Poet and pacifist William Stafford, a conscientious objector during World War II, did just that all his life. Kim Stafford shares some of his father's insights in "Every War Has Two Losers." It includes some previously unpublished daily musings along with published poems: "If you don't know the kind of person I am / and I don't know the kind of person you are / a pattern others have made may prevail in the world / and following the wrong god home we may miss our star."

The poems collected in "Raising Our Voices" are more urgent but rougher and less powerful. This year, Oregon Poets Against War invited people to sound off and send in.

More than 135 poets, ranging widely in age and ability, contributed to this anthology. Some of the poems would come across better from a soap box or at a poetry slam than in print; many are good, but few are likely to last as long as Stafford's.

One good one is "Frogs of War" by Barbara LaMorticella: "So now the frogs of war are croaking / from their pond of fire / and all the haters of peace, emboldened / croak back / they have only two notes: Kill Take / Kill Take."

Road Kill in the Closet

By Jan Eliot

(Four Panel Press, 190 pages, $13.95)

Hey, we can say we knew her when. Eugene cartoonist Jan Eliot tried her wings in The Register-Guard, and now she's nationally syndicated. The condition seems chronic, because this is "Book Four of the Syndicated Cartoon Stone Soup."

Her cartoon vignettes about "an extended family living in a household where uproar rules" usually have more than one panel. But here's one that stands by itself:
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Title Annotation:Arts & Literature
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 9, 2003
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