Bly put forth more "timely and important" ideas on social ills in his book The Sibling Society. In it, he contends that North Americans are like a race of perpetual adolescents; that young children grow up too quickly, yet never quite finish the process to become full-fledged adults. The result is a world full of people who lack empathy or sympathy, whose lives are self-serving and detrimental to the human race as a whole.
The root of these problems, in Bly's opinion, is the erosion of respect for authority of all sorts. As Andres Rodriguez wrote in National Catholic Reporter, the poet finds that "consumer capitalism, in other words, has created a savage society where greed and desire extend almost limitlessly on the horizontal plane, while the vertical plane for example, tradition, religion, devotion is nearly totally absent.
Bly's cranky and often brilliant jeremiad is not going to please apologists for the consumer society. But that alone should be enough to recommend it. Throughout his career, Bly has maintained his devotion to translating the world's visionary poetry, in part as an effort to furthering multicultural understanding. His collection The Night Abraham Called to the Stars reflects his interest in other cultures; the poems in it are stylized versions of a Middle Eastern lyric known as the ghazal. Though traditionally a love-poem, the ghazal also regularly shifts its focus to touch on politics, myth, and philosophy.
As such, it was a natural choice for Bly, and his best work in the form is "simple in diction and understated in effect," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Bly's interest in man's relationship with nature, and his commitment to an idiom built upon simplified diction and the free associative processes of the unconscious mind. Rosenberg, writing in Tribune Books, noted in Bly's work a blending of European and South American influences with a decidedly American sensibility: "Bly is a genius of the elevated 'high' style, in the European tradition of Rilke and Yeats, the lush magical realism of the South Americans like Lorca and Neruda.
Yet Bly's work is truly American, taking its atmosphere of wide empty space from the Midwest, and its unabashed straightforward emotionalism and spiritualism. Mersmann commented in his Out of the Vietnam Vortex: A Study of Poets and Poetry against the War, "makes him both one of the most annoying and most exciting poets of his time. Davis, William V. Lacey, Paul A.
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Davis, William V. Lacey, Paul A. Lensing, George S. Mersmann, James F. Newsmakers , Gale Detroit, MI , Roberson, William H. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press Detroit, MI , Shaw, Robert B. Smith, Thomas R. Sugg, Richard P. O'Malley, review of The Sibling Society, p.
Times Alone: Selected Poems
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