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  • By Lee Evans
    Jan 25, 2009
    "Maryland Weather: Poems by Lee Evans" From the review by Paul Dolinsky in the Winter 2009 upate of "The Golden Lantern." ...The poet recognizes the basic harmony of nature, which operates quite effectively without human interaction. He suggests that people could learn to regard nature as a great teacher, rather than an adversary, particularly since we are already immersed in nature. ...Poems on Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu set the tone for the collection—if a person has a sense of fixed identity regarding himself and other beings, this attitude obscures his view of reality, which is whatever is happening right in front of his eyes. Such thoughts are expressed both didactically and with humor, as in the poem "End of Summer" whose final stanza reads: "Did you ever," I asked the Old Man of The Sea, as he leaned on his trident and stared at the waves, "have so much fun playing out there in the water, you forgot who you were— and became... More > Everything?" ...As there is no abiding substance or mind, so is there no clear distinction between the waking and dreaming states. In this spirit, the poet repeats Chuang Tzu's famous question: Are we butterflies dreaming that we are human, or are we humans dreaming that we are butterflies? ...The message of Chuang Tzu, and the poems of Maryland Weather, is not to shirk the implications of skepticism by seeking certainty in any fixed belief, even a belief in a beneficent God. What we believe to be real changes from moment to moment. It is Heraclitean flux, like Maryland weather... ...We are all fellow creatures, with individual and unique perspectives. Suffering and the imposition of suffering on other beings occurs if one clings to fixed perspectives, or to things that supposedly do not change, for change is a basic part of our experience. ...Many of the poems are written from the perspective of the other—the other person, non-human beings, and nature itself...Those poems then become a series of what could almost be called biographical statements by different non-human observers, who, happily for us, have a penchant for poetry...And so we meet a lyrical skull, with whom the narrator converses about change and mutability (what else!). There is the poem "Cicada," in which this insect, aware of itself in a very human kind of way, gives a short discourse on change and permanence. An aviary perspective is provided by a parrot who repeats Buddhist dharma on impermanence, and so seems to indicate his readiness for a human birth...What the poet calls a Premiere Snowman feeds the birds and animals out of the very substance of winter and nature, thus preserving them. He becomes a kind of primal Garden of Eden without human beings. ...The poet does not rest content with relativism, or reality conceived as a multitude of difference perspectives, when applied to morality. Justice and injustice are not simply terms subject to interpretation. He emphasizes the importance of balance and harmony rather than hubris or human pride...When harmony among people, and between human beings and nature is disturbed by war, not only does the world change but the poems too change...from being descriptive to being prescriptive. The poet no longer dispassionately records his observations. The poet, rather, creates poems which seek to extort and cajole right action from often reluctant people who fall back into being manipulated by religious and political authoritarianism... ...Lee Evans' poems are powerful, engaging, and witty. They challenge conventional views of the world in their philosophical and moral aspects. —Reviewed by Paul Dolinsky< Less
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Product Details

Lee Evans
February 9, 2011
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.74 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
8.5 wide x 11 tall
Product ID
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