Archive - March 25, 2021

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Eric Torgersen (Ethiopia) — Honorary Chancellor of the Poetry Society of Michigan
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Review — UNDER THE WAVE AT WAIMEA by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

Eric Torgersen (Ethiopia) — Honorary Chancellor of the Poetry Society of Michigan

  With IN WHICH WE SEE OUR SELVES, Eric Torgersen begins with the formal structure of the ghazal as popularized by Agha Shahid Ali and unapologetically makes a more American thing of it, arguing in his Afterword that this transformation is as inevitable as what happens when the children of immigrant parents pass through an American junior high school: not everyone is pleased with the result.“I’ve tried to avoid faux- Eastern themes and tones,” he writes. Fluently metrical and effortlessly rhymed, at times in short, hard-hitting lines with refrains as brief as a single word, these poems leap off the page with speech as American as this: My gang all quit when I didn’t split the take right. We crashed and burned when I didn’t hit the brake right. Following the common practice of “signing” the poems in the final couplet, Torgersen allows a chorus of voices — selves? — . . .

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Review — UNDER THE WAVE AT WAIMEA by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

  Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 416 pages April 2021 $15.99 (Kindle); $$24.21l (Hardback); $28.00 (Audio CD) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73) • I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer, Paul Theroux, and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book, which will be available in mid-April. Initially, I was unenthusiastic about reading about the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading On the Plain of Snakes about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for over 30 years, during which time he’s been gathering stories and materials about this unique 50th State. Although he’s traveled the world, he lived the longest in Hawaii, whose . . .

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