|Steven Cope’s previous
work has shown him to be a master of persona. For example, in The
Appalaches Cope is the wise Appalachian philosopher who presents us with a thousand-and-one erudite and witty aphorisms.
The Furrbawl Poems is inspired by a gnome-like being who, as one reviewer said, “stands between the conflicting worlds of nature and civilization” and “walks the line between savagery and
tender ness, action and contemplation, academia and raw emotion,” the stuff of much of Cope's work. While the poems of
Clover’s Log relate the words of a mountain creature named Clover, who, a reviewer says, “is sometimes ‘the mad son of a mad father,’ sometimes ‘a Christ-like tree sprite alive in a dogwood, the cross sprung from his heels, / blood trailing from all his branches.’ Sometimes he’s an incompetent hunting companion who ‘prayed I guess harder / than one of Clover’s gut-shot deer.’ Once, in a long poem called ‘For the Love of Renee,’ he seems to be an
And now, in The Mad Reverend, Cope gives us a startling collection of poems in the words of one who he says is “not so much a person as a state of mind.”
Cope’s versatility and lyricism as he explores our relationship with nature, while he seeks to understand the holy and the profane, continue to amaze us.
From the book ---
I thought too
I thought too of going back.
I thought of being what I was.
I thought of ignoring my age
and thumbing my way down to Xanadu,
strumming "Your Bleepin' Heart"
one last time on the reel-to-reel,
the whole frigging world gone digital.
I thought of bearing Luke on my shoulders
and leaping over the damn wall,
all the sons-of-bitchin cars
getting out of our way,
Luke grinning like a Cheshire,
me wild as a mad reverend.