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 Poetry Review   



The White Train
by John Spaulding
LSU Press, 2004
Trade paper, $16.95 (52 pages)
ISBN: 0-8071-2998-4

"The past that we are given access to by a photograph
is not the complete truth,
but it is a piece of truth
and that may be all that we have."
     (epigraph -- The White Train)

In his second poetry collection, The White Train, John Spaulding uses photographs as a recurring metaphor for what shapes us. Expressing the importance of the visual and the instinctive in understanding history and place. Using events -- and photographs (works by Timothy O'Sullivan, Robert Howlett, Roger Fenton, Frederick H. Evans, Hugh Diamond, Lewis Hine, and Russell Sorgi are the inspiration for many of these poems) -- from the past century, the poet reminds the reader of the ways in which the contemporary world echoes with what we've learned or failed to remember. A clinical psychologist in Boston, Spaulding seems to use his training in finding the perfect detail in each image.

Bittersweet and evocative, these poems quietly point to the changes in the American landscape.  

Selected by Henry Taylor, The White Train, is one of the five poetry books in The (2004) National Poetry Series. John Spaulding's poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Atlantic Monthly, Iowa Review, and Poetry, in addition to other publications. The Wesleyan Poetry Series published his first poetry collection Walking in Stone.

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews


2005 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved