The title of this volume is taken from William Carlos Williams's Patterson, where the spray over the falls on the Patterson River "brings in the rumors of separate worlds." In the Introduction Coles evokes his friendship with Williams and Williams's vision as the stimulus for this poetry.

The first section consists of poems evoking incidents and people from the author's childhood. The second section includes a number of militant poems from Coles's 1960's work with black children in the South, and later poems dealing with Nicaragua and Northern Ireland. The final section, entitled "On the Day Jesus Christ Was Born," is a set of Christmas poems evoking various times and places in the poet's life.


Many of these poems are longer and more complex than Coles's earlier work in A Festering Sweetness (see this database). The militant poems speak eloquently of the suffering of poverty and war; in this respect the Northern Ireland poems, "Perpendicular," "The Devil I," and "The Devil II" are outstanding.

The poet's evocations of his early life are consistently interesting, although not as strong as his other work; "New Jersey Boys," a poem dedicated to William Carlos Williams, is noteworthy. In the Christmas poems, issues of social justice again stimulate Coles to create his best work, as in "Christmas, Belfast" and "Christmas, Managua, 1986."


Univ. of Iowa Press

Place Published

Iowa City, Iowa



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