NIGHT SUN, an Initiation Trilogy: The Personified Street, poems 1974B78, New Native, 1978B81, and Water From The Moon, 1982B89, by Thomas Rain Crowe, New Native Press, Rte. 67, Box 128 Cullowhee, NC 28723, $17.95. 1993.
Night Sun is a record of a journey, and it begins on the dark side of the street, San Francisco, but any city street: The Personified Street. It is a black covered book, beautifully designed, introduced by Jack Hirschman. It's an urban-hip book demonstrating the power of city energy, artificial energy, intense, concentrated -capital energy, as deceptive and dangerous as the blips of light that now represent billions of dollars or the minute particles of plutonium those dollars have produced. In “Fear” the poet cries “TOO MANY CARS IN MY BLOOD” / and not enough rice for their starving eyes / Where firebombs / are still playing with their dreams.” These poems, as Hirschman's introduction documents, are written by a man fully immersed in the revolutionary poetics of urban struggle, struggle linking poetry’s revolt to the political promise of Russia, Nicaragua, Native Americans, and poets not yet lobotomized by fame, fortune, security.
New Native is a gray bound book, a purgatory, a middle passage. These are poems of will arising from the realization that is also a protest against the impotency of alienation: “You can go home again.” In “Silence” the poet says, “I'll sing nothing / but the songs of dirt.” These are earth bound, anchored, rooted poems, or at least they strive that way. They have direction. They are pulled by an essential gravity. They anchor political oppression with the anger of the elements: “Tremors (When The Mother Moves)” was written on 5/81, “on the day of the death of IRA hunger-strike leader Bobby Sands.” It contains this reminder of how we are all grounded: “Nowhere does power move / in lines with such force.” These very words are the best description of these poems.
Water From The Moon, a white cover with a pastel painting that looks Sufi-inspired. The journey has taken us to a kind of New Age heaven. This is not the crystal and imitation Indian artifact shop New Age. This is a poetry of genuine synthesis, combining street tough Rimbaud, with Nature bound Thoreau, with political-mystical William Blake. This poetry is the genuine thing, a record of American poetry stumbling, sometimes flying toward the unknown: either transcendent space-age escapism or earthy body-loving immanence. This poetry is a guide. Any young poet still in the learning stage should use this as an apprenticeship. As the poet says, “Love is the perfect work.” Love this poet’s work. For less than $20.00 you can buy the boxed set of these books. Look at your purchase as an investment; this trilogy will be sought by collectors of authentic poetry. Are there any? This poetry is an act of faith that genuine poetry is alive in these dire states. I share it. Share in it, too. Buy these books.