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February 09 , 2014

Sunk Like God Behind the House

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Drawing upon his experiences and knowledge as a professional anthropologist, Kent Maynard takes readers on a sensory journey through the cultures and landscapes of a fascinating and foreign world. "Park of the marvel of Kent Maynard's Sunk Like God Behind the House is Maynard's material, for here is a professional anthropologist who has come late to poetry and brings a vast, coherent body of knowledge, a narrative of cross-cultural investment and sympathy. Maynard renders his many years of experience in the fields, forests, and villages of Cameroon in a highly personal, compassionate stance" Here are the lives of "mommies" and Kedjom farmers, here the dazing heat and "forty billion ants feeding on banana leaves." Manyard's finely tuned lyricism is as capable of Pidgin English as of the pure song of connection and love. And thus, the other marvel of this collection: Maynard's impressive poetic skills. Sunk Like God Behind the House is a joyous debut. – David Baker. "Kent Maynard's poems rise out of ethnography as if native to it. Yet each inhabits regularity of lines; there are even two sonnets. But what commands most attention in these poems is what is given voice; kinds of people, situations, tricks of fate, even birds of the place" Maynard does not pretend to be absent, impersonal; the book opens with his father, interpreted in relation to something learned in the field. And the title poem, well into the field work, well into the book, can be read as an ironic awareness of distance not fully overcome. Altogether accomplished, Sunk Like God Behind the House is a fine achievement. – Dell Hymes
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