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experiences down to earth, without losing any of the poetic impact that such a clash might spark. Although James Mardis’ two poems appear in Part Five, they might be considered “autobiographical,” “political,” “personal,” and “transcendental.” The confessional and the sarcastic mix throughout Mardis’ “Heritage”: “Like my father / I have married the round belly / of believing / that in America / even black men / make a difference / but / first / you must convince them / that you are not / armed.” In “hang time,” the poet’s references to the AfricanAmerican experience are similarly explicit: “when time was being careless / fondling the diaper / of the year yet to come / messing around in the mind of the future / not wanting the face / of what it had become / some brother swung slowly / to the mob’s sad chanting / and time was blamed / for the wrongness of man / somewhere.” Fullingim’s wry depiction of an old lady ing Her Playing Hand” is a combination of satirical images denoting a specific middleclass reality, yet with nostalgic and universal conclusions: “Her seat in heaven is more or less assured / \(A belief builtnot on dreamsbut on something as / solid as […] As her slippers sink deep into the carpet / She can still remember nakedness on a white sheet.” Encounters with different cultures and traditions as the result of real or imaginary journeys is another theme, particularly in Part Five. In James Hoggard’s poems, Greek mythology meets Southwestern imagery at its best. In “Medea in Taos” Hoggard, known for his synthetic story-telling gift, goes back to the ancient myth and applies it to the New Mexican reality, combining Greek tragedy with unique Southwestern coloring: I saw her last month, in Veracruz, on the street no, not her, not there, but in Zacatecas last year. I have seen her, though, and I still see her. Her eyes, like a hawk’s talons flexed for snakes, come at me cold and dun and sharp, crazed with spleen and grief. And all those mad wild cats, she says, that wail out thdre, like tortured ghosts, that prowl out there where lava lies, are dreams of mine, and all the children I set on fire are me. i n “Out of Place, Far from Rain,” Hoggard indulges in a sensual, almost sybaritic imaginary trip to San Miguel, where “I wish a lightning storm / would blow the lights so candleflames / might glow in the breeze swimming / around the creaking leather chairs / we’d be sitting in while talking about / rhythms of fire in the dancing Greek past / as our toes munched the cool tile floor / and our breaths were as sweet as papaya.” Various poets collected in Inheritance of Light use humor, but it is perhaps the most evident in Jan Epton Seale’s poems. In “Diana the Huntress Goes for Her Mammogram,” as the title suggests, the comic effect is achieved through the juxtaposition of a legendary figure with a prosaic contemporary situation: “The plexiglas flattened / her breast like a discus. / “Ouch!” she said in Greek. / “Hold your breath, miss.” / The plexiglas squeezed her/ sideways into tableau. / “Ouch!” she tried in Latin. / “I’m not from Egypt.” In “What We Come to the Post Office For,” the comic effect is even more powerful, becoming verbal as well as situational: “A slight anomaly of heartbeat: / the click of key in postal box, / the wall of cliffside of mailbirds, / back-loaded, front-emptied, / honeycombed, catacombed / twittering ourselves and former occupants.” Greece, for understandable reasons, is one of the favorite destinations for the Southwestern poets. Others venture to Helsinki or Rome \(Melissa Shepherd in or, most commonly, into their own selves. It is hard to trace a rigid trajectory of those journeys in an anthology so diverse in theme and style. Brief biographical notes about the poets, some of whom are relatively unknown, would have been helpful to place their work in.a broader context. Yet for most of the poets collected in Inheritance of Light, the “Southwest” seems little more than an address, an accidental lo cation. Some of the poets reminisce about Black Mountain poetics, others of the Beat generation. Still others work in traditions that are not uniquely Southwesternas the Chicano, represented in this volume by, among others, Carmen Tafolla, Pat Mora, and Ray Gonzalez. According to Gonzalez, his collection represents “the best poetry being written in the Southwest today.” If true, he has revealed it as too eclectic to answer any general questions about representative spiritual, intellectual and artistic tendencies in this vast region. Only time will show whether that is an obstacle or an avenue to national or international reputation. The most universal artists are often those who achieve that dimension by accident, growing directly from their very own, specific experiences, using sensibilities shaped by a specific contextexpressing particular experiences and sensitivities lucky enough to be revealed at the right time and in the right place. As Robert Burlingame writes in “small poems”: the small poems that speak of the breakage of time are mysterious in them selves they draw close to the fresh mouths of children they speak as little as they know how patiently waiting never telling how they got here they nevertheless shine in their smallness, like murmured songs.. Elzbieta Szoka teaches at Columbia University, where she is also the managing editor of Revista Hispanica. At home she is co-editor of the literary journal, The Dirty Goat. 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