Limbs of the Apple Tree Never Die
To what degree do the Civil War in ancient Rome and the civil rights struggle in the United States resonate in our present moment of clashing public interests and disparities of race and class? In Limbs of the Apple Tree Never Die, his first book, Joel Felix grafts Lucan’s Civil War to Virgil’s Georgics to yield the strange fruit of Memphis, Selma, Montgomery, and Chicago. “To utilize the earth / choice apples must be found, / named, and securely lashed / to the forest drained of accident.”
“At the end of this excellent book, in the ‘Afterword,’ Joel Felix elegantly describes his intentions and processes. Thus I can merely note my arrival at that point after the great pleasure of reading this collection of poems, observations, travel notes, meditations, seeds, grafts, serpents and birds, history, culture and love. That pleasure led me sometimes away from the book and on to read things I previously hadn’t and to learn of what I was ignorant. The Trés Riches Heures of Johnny Applegraft came to mind, as did Eve at the lunch counter as sun of an orrery of pomes while outside the window Alexander Pope whip-cracked a succession of snakes. One can not ask more from a book. I enjoyed what it did for me, and that is not yet ﬁnished.” Tom Raworth
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