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Birds and Other Beasts
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There is tremendous variety in form, theme, and tone in the poems in this volume. Many of the poems may strike the reader as a corroboration of Thoreau's view of wildness and wilderness, because Peake's love of wild things forms his poetic center, but this book also includes intense love poems as well as celebrations of birds and trees and lightning bugs. Though Peake celebrates nature, he does not view it with sentimentality. He faces without tears a world in which one creature preys upon another for survival, and he looks without fear to the 'revelry of grave' when his form becomes food for worms and feeds the laurel bushes growing over him. According to critic John Lang, Peake's poems reveal 'a poet whose ear is attuned to the music of words' His poems abound 'in beautiful lines and images: 'The black-necked waders cry in their wet fields,' for example, and 'skies the white-faced ibis soars.' Such lines embody in Fred Chappell's phrase, 'the eye's joy.'' Like Peake's descriptions of finding a rare green kingfisher, for readers of his poems, 'Delight follows discovery.'

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Stand: 04.06.2020
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