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Ray Hinman's Poetry is amazing and great. I believe his poetry really can stand up to that of any poet, including Wallace Stevens or T.S. Elliot. He understands poetry and one can pick out the Yates or Stevens in his work without it appearing obvious or trite or unoriginal. Hinman's descriptions of travel in Mexico are very tactile. One can feel the sand and the sweat and smell the cactus and see the greens, yellows, blues of the Mexican land scape. His attachment to the world of myth is equally impressive. Hinman puts us in touch with the origins of the poetry in mythos and the poet's journey to the underworld is implied in every foot. He uses meter yet in modern ways and uses imagery that is pulled from the ancinet past of human psyche.
By JLH on August 24, 2011 Format: Paperback Hinman's poetry conveys a power of insight, an excellent craftsmanship and an unabashed innate sense of the majestic nature of words that has been totally lost in modern poetry. Hinman is clearly well schooled the classical tradition, the French symbolist, Keats, Yates, Elliot, Stevens. He writes like those men did. Yet he knows how to translate this acuity into contemporary conversational sense. His poetry is tactile. It is grounded in textual. In "The Ex Missionary Learns Mexico" one feels as though one is in the desert. We can feel the leaves of the plants, the heat and grit of the sand. In "Hobos from Tacoma" one can feel the dirt in between the nails. His vision of the connection bewteen words and the senses and some transcendent overarching truth they reflect is almost reminiscent of the platonic theory of knowledge. Yet his outlook is modern and his sensual oriented poetic style is minimalist. One can also detect a hint of Gary Snyder lurking in his affinity for folk religions of Mexico and the eastern insights that permeate all of his poetry and the universal nature of "sacred name."
Hinman is a powerful and insightful poet. His poetic talent is great and we should look for forward to much more brilliance form Ray Hinman.
By Mike Welsh on August 28, 2011
I like to read things that transport me to other times and places, and Our Cities Vanish is no exception. Each poem took me someplace and made me think about its subjects. With a wealth of historical, literary, geographic, and religious references, you will find your mind wandering down the same paths that Ray Hinman must have walked to be inspired to lay such words down on paper. I doubt you will read this book just once, rather I can imagine an old, dogeared, copy that has been returned to again and again.
I own both the paperback and Kindle versions of this book.