Medicine Show (Phoenix Poets) (Paperback)
University of Chicago Press, 9780226971650, 80pp.
Publication Date: April 15, 2010
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In Medicine Show, inner conflict is wonderfully realized in the clash of down-home plain speech and European high culture utterances. Freely translating and adapting Catullus (Latin), Villon (Middle French), Corbiere (French), Hikmet (Turkish), and Orpheus (Greek), and placing them alongside Jagger and Richards, skinheads, and psalms, Tom Yuill’s book mirrors an old-style hawking of wares, with all the charm and absurdity that results when high culture meets pop, when city meets small town, and when provincialism confronts urbanity. Here, the poems talk to one another, one poem nudging the cusps of many others, those poems touching still others' circumferences. Yuill, by invoking the Rolling Stones as muses and as background music, offers cover versions of Shakespeare, Keats, and Dylan Thomas, ultimately giving us a new kind of verse, funneled through the languages and rhythms of his masters' voices.