Other [sic] had nothingnwhatever to say to me,nand I left them far behind,nwanting upward to wander.nOn the other hand, Smith manages tonturn consistently elegant passages:n1 was given at birth this oddntriangularnface, the sugared cone that younsee now,nthe figurehead jutting fromnBOOKS BYnTHOMASnMOLNARnTHE PAGANnTEMPTATIONn”The Pa^an Temptation is anwide-ranging, syndieticnwork, subtle and profound.nMolnar draws on anthropology,nphysics, andnliterature to document thenthreat of a modern resurgencenof paganism. Henalso devastatingly critiquesnthe very remedies neopaganismnprescribes for thenills of modern society.”n— The University BookmannPaper, $11.95nTWIN POWERSnPolitics and the Sacredn”This is an analytic work ofngreat perception and insightnabout the need of politicsnto understand also whatntranscends itself. Molnar isna clear guide and a judiciousncommentator.”n— Tames V SchallnPaper, $9.95nAt your bookstore, or call 800-253-7521nFAX 616-459-6540n^f^n^WM. B. EERDMANSnPUBLISHING CO.n255 JEFFERSON AVE. S.E. / GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. 49503n40/CHRONICLESnsome pirate prow,nframed by trailing strands ofnmoonlike hair.nDisjointed shape I’m destined toncarry aroundnand thrust out steadily throughnendless days,nwounding the retinas of thosenwho gazenon the twisted shadow I castnupon the ground.nCmxBsHnP^rim of Centuriesn’•Diomas Molnar’snentditc )eicm!ad on thensTaie of Lontemporar)nChmtunitv, andofnCithohciim in parnuii^rnrecalls tct t(j a morenradical trast in the Onenro vhoni the Lhurt-hnbeais Willies’;”n—Richard John Neiihaii^nThomas iMoCnarnNEWnTHE CHURCH,nPILGRIM OFnCENTURIESnOffering a unique commentary onnthe Roman Catholic Church nearnthe end of the second millennium,nThomas Molnar looks both backwardnand forward as he analyzesnthe status of the Catholic Churchnin today’s world.n”Thomas Molnar’s erudite jeremiadnon the state of contemporary Christianity,nand of Catholicism in particularn. . . recalls us to a morenradical trust in the One to whomnthe church bears wimess.”n• —Richard John NeuhausnnnNot surprisingly, Gioia, whose versionsnof Eugenio Montale’s Mottetti appearednin 1990, and Wilbur, whosentranslations of French dramatic poetrynare contemporary classics, provide thenbest moments in the volume. “Orchestra,”nas rendered by Gioia, stands asnone of Gassian’s most memorable lyrics.nIts opening two stanzas introduce anconceit, an apt one if we recallnGassian’s musical training, on whichnthe emotion hinges:nClimbing the scales threenoctaves at a time,nI search for you among the highnnotes wherenthe tender flute resides. Butnwhere are yournsweet eyelashes? Not there.nThen I descend among thensunlit brasses —ntheir funnels glistening likenfountain tips.n1 let them splash me with theirnstreaming gold,nbut 1 can’t find your lips.nWilbur’s version of “Ballad of the Jacknof Diamonds” is animated by a witty liltnthat Cassian has doubtless carried overnfrom her children’s books:nThe two dark brothers of thisnjack.nAbetted by the third, alack,n(Who, draped in hearts fromnhead to foot,nIs the most knavish of the lot).nHave vowed by all means to benfreenOf him who gives themnsymmetry.nMaking a balanced set of fournWhose equilibrium they abhor.nIf everything in Life Sentence came upnto this level it would be easy to acclaimnCassian as one of the greatest livingnpoets. That so much of her poetry,n”vibrating, sensitive, pulsating, / explodingnin the orgasm of Romanian,”nis able to overcome the obstacles ofnEnglish translation provides us with anclear indication of its worth.nR.S. Gwynn is the editor of thenDictionary of Literary Biographynvolume American Poets Since 1945,nSecond Selection. He is a professornof English at Lamar University innBeaumont, Texas.n