Publishers Weekly, 1988-03-18 One of the pleasures of a collection of selected poems of this scope is watching the progress of a good poet, decade by decade, as he both broadens his range and hones his craft. McGrath, a denizen of the small-press world whose many volumes over a half-century career have often been allowed to go out of print, is the master of a wide variety of forms, including elegies, praise songs, satirical and polemic verse and small, haiku-like or imagistic poems. His work is informed by conscience and the spirit of social activism. If he sometimes beats the drum rather loudly and monotonously, he is more often inspiring or scathingly funny. A North Dakota native, McGrath generally writes in the discursive American style that Whitman once referred to as ``the dialect of common sense.'' His vision is idealistic and populist, as summed in the closing lines of his ``Triumphal March'': ``O Solidarity!/ What did it matter we'd lost?'' There are a host of memorable older poems here, but the new work comprises a particularly dazzling peroration to an already distinguished poetic career. (April)
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