Explore Magazine Volume 4 Issue 2


Reputations of the Tongue
On Poets and Poetry

William Logan
University Press of Florida

"Is there today a more stringent, caring reader of American poetry than William Logan? Reputations of the Tongue may, at moments, read harshly. But this edge is one of deeply considered and concerned authority. A poet-critic engages closely with his masters, with his peers, with those whom he regards as falling short. This collection is an adventure of sensibility." - George Steiner

William Logan has been called the most dangerous poetry critic since Randall Jarrell. A critic of intensity and savage wit, he is the most irritating and strong-minded reviewer of contemporary poetry we have. A survey of American, British and Irish poetry in the 1980s and early '90s, Reputations of the Tongue is a book of poetry criticism more honest than any since Jarrell's Poetry and the Age.

The book opens with an essay arguing with Eliot over tradition and individual talent; it closes with a close scrutiny of contemporary British and Irish poetry. At the heart of the book are long essays on W. H. Auden, W. D. Snodgrass, Donald Justice and Geoffrey Hill - and the reviews of major and minor contemporary poets that have earned Logan his reputation.

Appearing in publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Poetry, Parnassus and Sewanee Review, Logan's reviews have been noted for their violence, intelligence, candor and humor. Many aroused tempers on first publication, leading one Pulitzer Prize winner to offer to run the critic over with a truck. Even as he tackles the radical excess of Ashbery and Ginsberg, however, Logan lauds the rich quietudes of Elizabeth Bishop and James Merrill, the froth and verbal fervor of Amy Clampitt, the philosophical comedies of Gjertrud Schnackenberg.

William Logan is the author of four books of poems, Sad-faced Men (1982), Difficulty (1985), Sullen Weedy Lakes (1988) and Vain Empires (1998), and a book of criticism, All the Rage (1998). He has won the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. He is professor of English at the University of Florida.

An Invisible Minority
Brazilians in New York City

Maxine L. Margolis
Allyn and Bacon Press

This book challenges the common American stereotype of the "illegal alien" as a young, uneducated male who comes from an impoverished village in rural Mexico. Brazilian immigrants in New York City - perhaps half of whom are undocumented - have little in common with this archetypical illegal. Here we see that Brazilian immigrants are fleeing neither dire poverty nor political repression back home. Rather, they are from middle- and lower-middle-class families and many are well educated. They come to the United States seeking at least temporary relief from their homeland's chaotic economic situation, with the hope of finding jobs and working and saving for the day they return to Brazil.

This book has two major themes: social class and immigration, and the role of the immigrant in the U.S. economy. These themes are highlighted with data on Brazilian immigrants in New York City and touch on the following issues: the nature of contemporary immigrant communities and the economic niche filled by undocumented immigrants in the United States.

This ethnography features the results of more than a year of research in New York City, Rio de Janeiro and the city of Governador Valadares (a major exporter of brazucas, as Brazilians living in the United States are called).

In addition to her research for this book, Maxine L. Margolis has done extensive field work in Brazil and among Brazilian immigrants in Paraguay.

Maxine L. Margolis is a professor of anthropology at the University of Florida focusing on migration, gender, Brazil and the United States. Since 1988, all of her research has focused on Brazilian emigration. She has done extensive research on the Brazilian immigrant conmunity in New York City, where she focused on issues of social class, ethnicity, race, gender, immigrant employment and legal status. She has published several books including Little Brazil: An Ethnography of Brazilian Immigrants in New York City and Science, Materialism and the Study of Culture: Readings in Cultural Materialism.

The New Africa
Dispatches from a Changing Continent

Robert M. Press
Photographs by Betty Press
University Press of Florida

In The New Africa, former Christian Science Monitor correspondent Robert Press tells his first-hand story of triumph and tragedy in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa.

Featuring 90 photographs by Betty Press, whose work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Time and Newsweek, the book offers a compelling account of the continent's emerging movements toward democracy.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews, Press also explores the causes of the extraordinary human tragedies of civil war in Somalia and genocide in Rwanda and offers explanations for the West's failure to curb them. While providing broad, in-depth coverage of sweeping social and cultural upheaval, The New Africa also introduces readers to some of the many individual Africans struggling for greater personal freedom. We meet the "Mercedes Benz" women of West Africa who made small fortunes in the wholesale cloth business; Peter, once a homeless Kenyan, who took up tailoring lessons until he was stricken with the AIDS virus; and Nike Davis, a Nigerian artist who escaped polygamy and abuse to establish a tuition-free art school.

Both general readers and students of African politics will finish The New Africa better informed about the intricate diplomatic and political problems surrounding the struggle for human rights in Africa today, while bearing witness to vivid and moving portraits of individual Africans who, often in the face of danger, stand for greater freedom.

After serving as foreign correspondent in Africa for the Christian Science Monitor from 1987 to 1995, Robert M. Press has been a visiting scholar and adjunct professor of journalism at Stetson University, DeLand, Florida, and a visiting professor at Principia College, Elsah, Illinois. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Florida.

Betty Press worked in Africa as a photojournalist from 1987 to 1995. Her photographs have appeared in numerous national media. She is currently an adjunct professor of photography at Stetson University.

Kick Ass
Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen
Edited by Diane Stevenson
University Press of Florida

Readers who eagerly anticipate each new Carl Hiaasen novel will relish this selection of his Miami Herald columns, written with the same dark humor and satirical edge as Tourist Season, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather and the rest of Hiaasen's brilliant and nationally acclaimed fiction. Hiaasen proves in these columns that facts can indeed be stranger than the fiction they inspire.

Beginning with "Welcome to South Florida," a chapter introducing such everyday events as animal sacrifice, riots at the beach and a shootout over limes at the supermarket, this collection organizes more than 200 columns into 18 chapters. An introductory essay provides an overview of Hiaasen's career and outlines his principal concerns as a journalist.

Since its inception in 1985, Hiaasen's twice-weekly column has become enormously popular for its passionate conviction and willingness to confront powerful interests in pursuit of the public good. Amid the corruption and chaos of a city on the edge, Hiaasen's point-blank honesty and clear articulation of what's right have secured him wide respect across the community's many racial and ethnic divides as well as the admiration of his peers. In addition to South Florida color and world-class journalism, readers of Kick Ass will find one of Florida's staunchest defenders in action, and they'll take great pleasure in watching him work.

Carl Hiaasen is a syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and author of many best-selling novels. His most recent book, Team Rodent, is an essay on the Disney enterprise in Florida.

Diane Stevenson is associate director of writing programs in the Department of English at the University of Florida.

The Limits of Empire
The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II

Robert J. McMahon
Columbia University Press

The first book to situate the Vietnam War in its broad, regional context, The Limits of Empire offers the most complete picture to date of how U.S. strategies of containment and empire-building spiraled out of control in Southeast Asia.

Robert McMahon's analysis goes further than any previous study of U.S. policy in Southeast Asia by following it through to the present, investigating how the shattering experience of Vietnam led to a radical alteration in U.S. assessments of the region's importance.

Robert J. McMahon is professor of history at the University of Florida. He is the author of Colonialism and Cold War: The United States and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence, 1945-49; Cold War on the Periphery: The United States, India, and Pakistan; and Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War.