Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
by Kevin McFadden, University of Georgia Press, 2008
Reviewed by Chris Bungard
Kevin McFadden's latest collection of
poems, Hardscrabble, draws connections between simple American life
and the language of the people between Ohio, the home of his youth
and undergraduate days, and Virginia, where he is the associate
program director for the Virginia Festival of the Book. The younger
brother of two PhDs (a Classicist and a Medievalist), Mc Fadden
embraces the quirky shifts that language takes in our every day
In a poem entitled 'Famed Cities', McFadden explores his own
experiences with language from his youth in Cleveland to his
studies in Scotland. Contemplating his time in Scotland, he
remembers that his Ohio accent worked just fine in Dublin,
Edinburg, or London, but when he came to Glasgow, he learned to
Want a wild time? In Glasgow time was tame.
See the town? You had to hear the tune. New loans,
including my name; I began saying Cave-in
if I wanted the right introduction in a pub.
Each poem is a linguistic dance, as McFadden alters and twists
the words that form our world. With a slight twist, as he notes in
'Another Untied Shoe', friend becomes a fiend, champ a chump, glory
is gory, and danger twists into anger.
For the word enthusiast like myself, this collection of poem
offers many unexpected delights and surprises, as words shift and
even a borrowed line can generate a whole new poem of anagrams. The
poetry drives endlessly forward, bouncing wherever the slip of a
letter enables a new direction.
- Chris Bungard is an assistant professor of
classics at Butler University.