Poetry Review: praise, prose

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

October 31, 1993|By James H. Bready

The Maryland Poetry Review publishes, in its 11th issue, tributes to Josephine Jacobsen and Michael Egan, paintings by William Swetcharnik and the winning entry in MPR's first poetry and fiction contest. The review (Drawer H, Catonsville 21228; paperback, $5) comes annually from the Maryland State Poetry and Literary Society.

A half-dozen writers evaluate the work that has led to Mrs. Jacobsen's term as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and many other honors. Rosemary Klein, society president, records an extended conversation with her.

Michael Egan, a stormy, Baltimore-born, Ireland-oriented poet who died last year at age 53, was "a key force in the late '60s-early '70s literary renaissance in Baltimore." Tom O'Grady, James Taylor and others salute his memory.

"Gringa," a short story by Susana Shaio, is the winner of the society's contest. Varied by these critiques, reminiscences and the text of "Gringa," the Maryland Poetry Review's handsome, 70-page issue this time includes as much prose as poetry.

*

The HMS De Braak went down off Lewes, Del., in 1798. Ships aplenty have foundered near the Delaware Capes, but this small Royal Navy brig was alone in legend -- having just captured a Spanish merchantman in the Napoleonic wars then raging, De Braak was supposedly stuffed with gold and silver. In 1984, one of the many treasure-seekers finally located the wreckage.

What then went on -- an archaeological debacle -- is vividly narrated in "The Hunt for HMS De Braak: Legend and Legacy" (Carolina Academic Press, $29.95), by Donald G. Shomette of Upper Marlboro, an underwater archaeologist and a knowledgeable, prolific author.

*

It's West Baltimore's turn, in the University of Baltimore's text-and-old-photos series on this city's major components. "West Baltimore Neighborhoods: Sketches of Their History, 1840-1960," by Roderick N. Ryon (University of Baltimore Institute of Publications Design; paperback, $15) distinguishes and encapsulates 50 neighborhoods. Dr. Ryon, from Towson State University and Ednor Gardens, is evenhanded in his treatment of class structure, odd buildings, anecdotes.

*

Ernest Smith grew up in Waverly talking, he reports happily, "like a real Bawlamoron." That dialect, or argot, wanes as new people move here from outside -- and waxes, as a new generation puts out a new dictionary of Bawlmerese. Mr. Smith's lexicon is "Hey Hon!: How to Talk Like a Real Bawlamoron" (38th Street Press, P.O. Box 124, Phoenix 21131; illustrated, paper, $10).

Besides assembling nearly 1,000 alphabetized examples (hygeraniums, Eggar Awwen Pao, ek setra), Mr. Smith translates "The Star-Spangled Banner" and other standard verses into Bawlmerese.

*

Jordan Schulze was born at Mercy Hospital in 1983. For a while, Craig and Jill Schulze found their young son "a thorough delight." But by age 2, his behavior was a puzzle; then came the diagnosis: autism.

Mr. Schulze, an assistant school principal, kept a diary of attempts to communicate with a boy living in a closed interior world. It is now the book "When Snow Turns to Rain: One Family's Struggle to Solve the Riddle of Autism" (Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane, Rockville 20852; paper, $14.95).

*

"The After-College Guide to Life" (Alcove Press, P.O. Box 1105, Severna Park 21146; paper, $12.95) by Carole Bober Everett of Severna Park and Tracy Cummings Harkins, is a common-sense guide for the recently graduated, as they float back down to hard, bare reality. The two authors (themselves Class of '85 at Ithaca College) deal with job-hunting, health, diet, attire, manners, taxes, significant otherships and even "not working" after college."

*

CALENDAR: "Forests Before and After the Colonial Encounter," by Grace Brush of Johns Hopkins University, at Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Another in a slide lecture series exploring the environmental history of Chesapeake Bay. . . . "The Latter-Day Rivals of Sherlock Holmes," Nov. 20-21, Pratt Central Library, 400 Cathedral St. The annual lecture weekend, presented by the Six Napoleons and the Carlton Club, local scions of the international Baker Street Irregulars. . . . Friends of Enoch Pratt Free Library, 20th anniversary meeting, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m., at Pratt. Speaker is Carla D. Hayden, library director. FOPL, now 1,800 strong, has raised more than $400,000 in aid of the Pratt. . . . Susan Baer, a reporter in The Sun's Washington Bureau, is the speaker at the next meeting of the Baltimore Writers' Alliance, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m., at the Elkridge Estates clubroom, 6025 Roland Ave.

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