Ordinary Mornings of a Coliseum (Paperback) Review

Ordinary Mornings of a ColiseumDubie's poems are infused with a paganistic energy--vivid, simple, preternaturally alert, free from any psychologistic traces. The volume's cover has a mask from a Roman fresco associated with initiation into the cult of Dionysus staring out wide-eyed. "Lizards with sails are screaming to her while the green spade/opens a whole nursery, a powdered vault of spotted dinosaur eggs/racked with loose hexes of eight,..." (from "The Young Professor of Wyoming Wears a Red-Banded Skin of Snake on the Spirit Finger of Her Right Hand That Shakes...") This could all be some kind of surrealism, except that it's more complex than surrealism. It doesn't just try to net the wayward detritus of dreams, but also to continuously evoke irrational but keenly felt fears, mysteries, and hopes.

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The New York Times called Norman Dubie "one of our premier poets," and his new book proves the point. This "broken fantasia" addresses humankind's engagement with spiritual practice. Backdropped by politics and religion, Dubie searches for independent, individual meaning through the lives of eccentric and visionary holy men such as Meister Eckhart, Rumi, the Tibetan Tashi Lama, the mathematician Ramanujan, Michel de Nostradam and the Egyptian recluse, Cyril. "I adore how they are all ignoring us," Dubie writes, "with an absolute genius-like snoring."Norman Dubie, a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, is a Regents' professor at Arizona State University and the author of 18 books of poetry. His work has been translated into 30 languages.

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