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McCorkle, James. Evidences.

The American Poetry Review, Consortium. 110p. c2003. 0-9718981-4-6. $14.00. SA

Jorie Graham selected Evidences as the sixth annual winner of the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book prize. In her introduction she states, "I do not believe it is possible to miss how brave this book is, how daring, and given over to beauty--both in its surface and in its love of what is on our surfaces." Knowing Graham's enthusiasm for the intuitive, the knowledge of the body, the heart, her zest for approaching abstractions through the conceptual implications of image, this selection should come as no surprise.

Because McCorkle's poems are long, contemplative, somewhat plaintive in tone, this collection is not a quick read. Instead the work relies on connotation and suggestion, mood and tone expertly established, often through precise nature references used to solidify some "here," some place or home in the world that defies definition. "Birds rise/in fevered astonishment,/The sky stained by lupines--/the world is here,/And going without need of ourselves."

Equally predictable to anyone familiar with Graham's predilection, the language here is innovative, of interest in itself. "Between May's Pond and the Main Pool/Marsh grass, cat-tails bow/slantwise blown--." That adds to the lyrical quality of this evocative exploration of the world as transient and singular, and its paradoxical call to us. "There are some who believe this life is meant only/For expiation, most of the rest of us live it/That way without knowing ..." McCorkle is one who knows, and, fortunately, one who reminds the rest of us. James Beschta, Barre, MA

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

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Author:Beschta, James
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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