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The Song of Lies, Poems by James Scannell McCormick
The formal poems in this collection explore landscapes - literal, emotional, spiritual - in an attempt to understand both the beauty as well as the eeriness of the world. The three parts of The Song of Lies seek to establish an argument that what is not understood, what can not be understood, is even more important than what can be. However, while it might not be possible to say what is true, the attempt to articulate what is not true may be sufficient.
"'Your task is simple,' James Scannell McCormick states, 'Observe what is there. And then how it is not.' Here, in this striking collection of poetry, using glorious language and images, McCormick accomplishes precisely that. The Song of Lies weaves the 'old monologue of the land' with the truth and clarity of personal experience, seeing not only the 'crows black and desultory' as a 'treeful of omens' but also a child's 'poised hands' reaching for dragonflies thronging him 'Klimt-gold . . . in wing-quick light.' McCormick opens his rich, compelling collection by telling us that 'this is the place of no lover and no angel' but his poetry again and again describes a terrain that speaks something 'sacral, elemental.' Therein is the power of his work: that even though 'the ocean, on the rough-grained table of the shore' is 'wringing and wringing its blue-veined hands' we're reminded that 'the one thing that we can stop from happening, if we're quick, is the next fingernail-colored shell from washing, unshattered, back into the ocean.' Be quick. I urge you to read Song of Lies. Deft, surprising, McCormick shows us that poetry may be 'the one believable thing in the entire falling world.'" - Marion Starling Boyer