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  • By Jack Cook
    Feb 22, 2010
    Tioga County Courier, Feb. 10, 2010 Book review: Engaging collection Editor's note: Jack Cook, an owego resident, has several titles published. This current book, LAST CALL, is available at Riverrow Bookstore, Owego, NY or from Lulu.com by Terence Cooney Jack Cook's latest collection of his writings presents a problem to the reviewer. How to do it justice when so much of it is so good, yet so different. My solution is to focus on a few pieces and to leave the rest for the fortunate reader to discover sua sponte Cook's view is sometimes dark, as in the poem "Quilted", part of his cycle of poems "Towards Hiroshima II". He describes in the sky "a mournful cloud cover, thousands of swollen dark patches...brooding grey-black blocks of gloom..." and thus eloquently shares his dread of "another Hiroshima Day," this time in the Middle East, as that anniversary approached in 2007. Another poem from the same cycle is "Quilted II." In it Cook... More > engagingly and at some length tells the story of an actual quilt, a family heirloom, and of the branch of his family through which it descended to him. At the end, after 16 stanzas, he hits us with his point, quoting Melville "'Enjoy the bright, keep it turned up if you can,'" he wrote, "'but don't deny the black.'" And then "Each age has its own Holocaust, its own spell-bound Hiroshima." I recently visited Mr. Cook's home, and asked to see the quilt. It was there on the second floor landing where it presented itself to me as an old friend, so lovingly and well had it been limned by the words of the poet. And his powerful point stays with me yet. That the language in Cook's prose is sharp and sure is not surprising, given his former lives in the newspaper world and in English Faculty-dom in Academe. What may be surprising to the new reader is that like his poetry, his prose pieces are often concerned with Justice--social justice, economic justice, justice on the streets, justice in our Courts of Law, and peace and justice all over the world. His moving "An Open Letter to Neda" should be required reading everywhere young people study, ministers preach, and politicians legislate. Jack Cook is a prophet for our times. We would do well to give him heed. Cook titled his book "LAST CALL", suggesting thar the Maitre'd will soon be turning out the lights. It's too soon for that. It is fervently hoped that we will yet be invited for an "after hours" nightcap from Jack Cook's fluent and arresting pen.< Less
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Product Details

Publisher
Red Bear Press, Owego, NY
Published
January 3, 2010
Language
English
Pages
37
Binding
Saddle-stitch Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
0.23 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
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