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Wolf Heart, by Karon Luddy

April 15, 2007

scan-wolfheart063Karon Luddy is an exciting talent, the product of a vivid, conflicted experience of Upstate South Carolina by a quick, rebellious temperament. In this respect, these free-verse poems are highly original as a body yet not without precedent in American literature. For example, there is Stephen Crane’s rebellion against the Methodist religion of his mother in The Black Riders and Other Lines, a savagely compressed Whitman or extenuated Dickinson. The pleasure of Luddy’s “Family Reunion” derives from combining “Mama’s closing statement to God,” “big-hearted heathen” Aunt Margaret’s “chocolate silk pie,” and “my father’s dented flask.” In another poem, delirium tremens is pronounced a symptom of the father’s attempted escape from hospital “Naked as Adam.” But when discharged, his eyes shine “like black marbles he’d won from the Devil.”

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