Magic Again: Selected Poems on Thomas Wolfe
A fascinating new book, Magic Again: Selected Poems on Thomas Wolfe, co-edited by David Radavich and David Strange, brings together a wide variety of lyric responses to North Carolina’s arguably most famous writer, Thomas Wolfe (1900-38), author of Look Homeward, Angel and a number of other novels and plays. The title refers to a passage in Wolfe’s posthumously published novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, in which the narrator travels to Germany hoping to find “the old magic again.”
The poems in this volume were written from 1935 to 2015 and exhibit a broad range of styles and themes, from one limerick and several humorous pieces to longer, ruminative evocations of time and place. One poem by award-winning Chilean poet Miguel Arteche is written in Spanish, while contemporary poet Tokashi Kadaira has contributed fifteen haiku in English and Japanese. Many of the lyrics echo Wolfe’s concerns in contemporary settings, mirroring literary styles of the period.
Perhaps not surprising in a book reflecting on Thomas Wolfe, a number of the poets have strong ties to North Carolina. Robert Morgan has contributed two poems, as has current North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson. The volume concludes with a poem by former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell. Included among the lyric responses are short poems by best-selling novelists Jack Kerouac and Pat Conroy.
In short, this volume contains something of interest for anyone who has ever been captivated by the sweeping vision of Thomas Wolfe. Magic Again is published by the Thomas Wolfe Society, and all proceeds from sales of the book will go to sustain this non-profit organization. Copies are available for $15 plus $3.50 shipping and handling from the Wolfe Society, P.O. Box 1146, Bloomington, IN 47402-1146, or at Thomas Wolfe Society and North Carolina Poetry Society meetings.
To read my interview about this book with Henry McCarthy on WEHC Radio,
click here and scroll down to David Radavich (14).