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BOOKS

BOOK REVIEWS BY BILL NEVINS

Falling Out of Bed in a Room With No Floor BY TERENCE WINCH

Paperback, 80 pp 2011, Hanging Loose Press

$18 ISBN-13: 978-1934909225

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erence Winch, that grand lyrical marksman, hits his target again and again in this astoundingly fine volume of poems, his fifth. Describing a proud amputee in “Pegleg,” Winch notes Fred Johnson’s “Harley Davidson suspenders” and then ends the poem in Fred’s own words: Either I hit the tree, Fred says,/ or the car full of people,/ so I hit the tree. I made this leg/ out of that fucking tree. Winch can shake your brain or chill your heart with a deft rhyme, as in this couplet from “What Dreams Tell Us”: Dreams tell us what we’d rather never know/ then wake us drenched in sleep’s undertow. Known for his hilarious sense of humor, as well as for his acclaimed

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status as founder, accordionist and songwriter for the grand Irish American bands Celtic Thunder and the Narrowbacks (Winch penned the now-standard nostalgic gem “When New York Was Irish”), Winch is also a serious narrator of the heart’s painful journeys through time, family, deaths and the past century’s history. This collection demonstrates that quality in the achingly lovely family reminiscences, “Proclamation for My Father in 1965” and these lines from “Memo to Bridie Flynn”: I knew there was no afterlife when you/ failed to visit me from the beyond. I know there is food,/ sex, music, books, sleep, art, movies, friends, talk, love./ Please tell me that’s enough. Just once, pay a little visit./ Tell me what I need to know before you go. Memories both of sexual joys and the end of all touching haunt this volume’s final poem, “Sex Elegy.” It’s a fit ending to a grand journey of a book in which this poet forgets

nothing and celebrates everything — pain and pleasure equally and magnificently. Poetry to treasure and read over and again.

a touching way that makes us like him all the more — and rejoice in his skill as a writer in displaying such honesty so plainly. This is a great read, and one which will make you at least hanker to head north to Alaska. And to fall wildly in love again.

Alaskan Travels BY EDWARD HOAGLAND

Hardback, 208 pp 2012, Arcade Publishing

$22.95 ISBN-13: 978-1611455038

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espected essayist and novelist Edward Hoagland, now in his 80s, looks back some 30 years to his several journeys around the vast expanse of Alaska in the company of his then lover, Linda. Both he and Linda have long since gone their separate ways in careers and love lives, but it was Alaska that bonded them, if temporarily and intensely, and Hoagland in this fascinating brief memoir that shows us how that came to be. Alaska is a very special and daunting place, not to be trifled with, and Hoagland gave the place his very close attention. Details abound in his narrative of arctic tribal animosities, settler-native frictions, human-animal interactions and, above all, the lethal challenges posed to humans by the stark climate realities of Alaska itself. Along the way, Hoagland reveals his own vulnerabilities and strengths in

| ALBUQUERQUE’S INTELLIGENT ALTERNATIVE | AUGUST 9 - 22, 2012

The Savage City BY T.J.ENGLISH

Paperback, 528 pp 2011, William Morrow Publishers

$15.99 ISBN-13: 978-006182458

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.J. English, whose earlier subjects have included Irish, Cuban and Asian gangsters and whose reporting on the current drug war in Mexico for Playboy is chilling and ground breaking, takes on New York City in its baddest of bad old days: the late 1960s and early 1970s. I lived in the Big Apple during some of those years, and it is no exaggeration to say that the Summer of Love was, at best, a

passing afternoon dream in the City That Never Sleeps. Horribly corrupt, racist, murderous cops face off against homicidallydriven Black revolutionaries in a dance of death made starker by the collapsing economic and social structure of the city. Riots, uncontrolled violence, nightmarish drug epidemics and widespread public fear all converge in a “perfect storm” of urban turmoil, which traps a wrongly-convicted Black man, George Whitmore, Jr., in a hellish miscarriage of justice. English, brother of Local iQ editor Mike English, interviews Whitmore and other survivors of this maelstrom, including the rotten-cop snitch Bill Phillips and the Black Panther Dhoruba Bin Wahad. The result is a chilling, very convincing picture of how wrong things went in America’s greatest city, not so long ago. A fascinating read and a true page turner. The recently released paperback edition includes a postscript interview with ex-cop Phillips, after he’s had the chance to reflect on what English revealed in the hardcover edition.

The Back to School Fashion Issue  

Three different levels of school, many new looks for the back to school set. Plus: Scooters are huge in Albuquerque. Local iQ profiles the s...

The Back to School Fashion Issue  

Three different levels of school, many new looks for the back to school set. Plus: Scooters are huge in Albuquerque. Local iQ profiles the s...

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