Jonathan Kirsch


At one point, Foley quotes the 17th century poet John Milton—“Books are not absolutely dead things but do contain a potency of life in them”—and, at another point, he repudiates the dead poet: “In our time, books have become, precisely, dead things,” insists Foley. “The opinion ventured in these essays is that writing is in a state of crisis.”  Yet Foley is far too passionate about the power of poetry to write it off: “At the heart of Western poetry,” he writes, “is a split, a confusion, a multimedia situation which is never resolved but which remains in a continual, and at times enormously creative, state of tension.” These words, offered to describe the “state of crisis” in writing, nicely describe Foley's book.

          —Jonathan Kirsch on O Powerful Western Star (2000)