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Poetry Review     

The Blaze of Poui
By Mark McMorris
University of Georgia Press, 2003
Trade paper, $16.95 (73 pages)
ISBN: 0-8203-2525-5



The Blaze of Poui is an intimate poetry collection. Mark McMorris writes of places that have been colonized, including the Caribbean and the Americas, with great longing. The poet's persona understands instinctively what lies underneath the lush rain forest may be disagreeable upon closer inspection. 

Divided into four sections -- Songs at Climate Level, Intimacies in a Far-Off Place, Time Logs, and The Blaze of Poui -- Morris fuses the past with the present, the personal with the political, and the classical with the postmodern. 

The book's two strongest sections -- Intimacies in a Far-Off Place and The Blaze of Poui -- contrast the life of a single man traveling the world with the marriage of dear friends. In "A Poem for the Love of Women," the poet concedes, ".... I loved many cities in many women/built many cities with their love, followed/many women to archaeological pits,...../". He admits, "I loved the sin in sinning...." and " .... the tale of my love is only beginning."  "The Blaze of Poui," An Epithalamion, describing a lush, erotic, and joyous wedding ends the book. 

McMorris is the author of The Black Reeds. An assistant professor of English at Georgetown University, his work has appeared in New American Writing, Callaloo, Conjunctions, and other journals. 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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