part brief, tightly formal, and ironic, cryrnout for recitation. “Twice Cursed”rnopens the book:rnBristling with fallen treesrnand choked with broken icernthe river threatens the house.rnI’ll wind up planting ricernif the spring rains don’t cease.rnWhat ancestral cursernprompts me to farm and worse,rnconvert my woes to verse?rnRichard Wilbur’s generous introductionrncharacterizes Murphy’s most typicalrnvoice as that of “a Dakota farmer whornknows everything about outrageous extremesrnof weather, crop failure, and thernmanv adversities which can lead tornfalling-down barns and ghost towns.”rnBut this lugubrious list of catastrophesrndoes not necessarily result in songs in thernkey of Dirge. Wilbur says, rightiy I think,rnthat in converting “woes to verse” Murphyrnemerges with “the jauntiness of arnsurvivor, and the high morale of a manrnwho has a purchase on realit)’, howeverrnbleak.”rnMurphy strikes me as a remarkablyrnoriginal poet, one whose unique soundrnand ision fly in the face of so much conventionalrnwisdom about what presentdayrnAmerican poetry is supposed to be.rnTo be sure, his subjects are resolutelyrncontemporary; along with the poemsrnabout farming are others exploring subjectsrnas diverse as sailing, homoeroticism,rnhunting, other poets (Wilbur and A.D.rnHope are the recipients of two thoughtfulrnhomages), art, purebred Labradorrnpups (in Scots dialect!), and Li Po. Still,rnMurphy’s poetry goes so against the grainrnof what is usually praised (and overpraised)rnin contemporary practice thatrnone is almost forced to re-educate himselfrnto appreciate the triumphs here. Llisrnshort meters force the reader to hear thernrhymes in a way that many contemporaryrnformalists go out of their way tornavoid; he gives us a poetry that looksrnback, with no regrets for the legacies ofrnModernism, to Hardy and Housmanrnin both technique and philosophy. Thernlatter, who appreciated equally the classicsrnand lightfoot lads, must somewherernbe smiling in approval at “Memo tornTheognis”:rnNo man is happyrnunless he lovesrnsmooth-hooved horses,rnhunting dogs and boys.rnHappy with boys,rnhorses and dogs?rnNo man enjoysrna boy’s esteem for long.rnHorses go to the dogs,rnand dogs die young.rnI do not know how many contemporaryrnreaders, whose palates have seeminglyrnbeen conditioned to prefer an unmellowedrnwhine to vintage wine, willrnfully savor the delights of this auspiciousrndebut, but I, for one, hope that this poetrnwill get the hearing he deserves.rnR.S. Gwynn is a professor of English atrnLamar University in Beaumont, Texas.rnOnly You CanrnHalt the .rnSilent Invasion! Y trnAmerica is now experiencing the greatest wave ofrnimmigration in its history. Three Presidential Commissionsrnhave warned that unless the trend is slowed it will have therngravest consequences for the future of America. Theirrnwarnings have been ignored. Why?rnWhy do the multinational corporations want America torntear down its borders?rnHow can a country of 270 million people have a “laborrnshortage”?rnWhy is America importing millions of the world’s poor whenrnwe already have 36 million Americans in poverty?rnHow has excessive immigration depressed wage rates andrnjob opportunities for America’s poor?rnWhat is the impact of today’s unprecedented immigrationrnlevels on education, crime and taxes?rnThe Midwest Coalition to Reform Immigration (MCRI)rnhas the answers and a strategic plan to save America’srnfuture. But we must act fast and we can’t win without yourrnhelp. Just 30 minutes a month of your time canrnreverse the trend that threatens the future of allrnAmericansrnCall MCRI at 1-800-709-0711 for a free copy of ourrnnewsletter or contact us by e-mail at [email protected] our Web page 1998/33rnrnrn