Summer 1998 • Vol. XX No. 3/4 Book ReviewsJuly 1, 1998 |

Survivalist Selves

Black Zodiac by Charles Wright. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997. 85 pages. $19.00, hardcover. Loose Sugar by Brenda Hillman. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1997. 115 pages. $12.95, paper. Elegy by Larry Levis. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997. 75 pages. $12.95, paper. When the Coptic monks of Nag Hammadi concealed their sacred papyri in clay jars and hid them in caves for safekeeping, they did so in fear of persecution. They were, after all, classified as heretics by the church. The monks surely had no idea that it would take some eighteen centuries for their trove of Gnostic texts to see once again the light of day. And they scarcely could have imagined that the Nag Hammadi tractates, with their weirdly eclectic mixture of Christian, Judaic, Manichean, and Neoplatonic traditions, would have found a particularly avid readership among American poets of the 1990s. Charles Wright and Brenda Hillman are a case in point: both have acknowled

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David Wojahn’s most recent collection of poetry, For the Scribe, appeared from the Pitt Poetry Series in 2017. His previous collection, World Tree (Pittsburgh, 2011), was the winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the low-residency MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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