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Imprinting
      This Impatient Ape
Terry McGarry
      Steven Utley
Anamnesis Press, 36 pages
      Anamnesis Press, 44 pages

Imprinting
Terry McGarry
Terry McGarry is an author and musician from New York City. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in nearly 30 magazines and anthologies, including Amazing Stories, Asimov's Science Fiction, The Mage, Adventures of Sword & Sorcery, and Terra Incognita.

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Anamnesis Press

This Impatient Ape
Steven Utley
Steven Utley broke into print in the 7th grade with a poem about Hannibal (the Carthaginian general, not Samuel Clemens' hometown). His poetry has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Cthulhu Calls, Galaxy and Weird Tales, among others.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by S. Kay Elmore

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When I first received these two chapbooks of poetry, I was more than a little intimidated. Poetry has such an illustrious history and it carries just a hint of pretension with it wherever it goes. It's hard to not be intimidated by poetry, but the authors of both books are approachable, sprinkling their poems with wit, humour and insight. Both of these books are not the least bit difficult, nor are they intimidating in any sense. Their size is comfortable and easy in the hand. Each under 45 pages, you know when you pick one up that you are looking forward to about an hour of good reading -- and they are both worth the time.

Imprinting, by Terry McGarry is the winner of the Anamnesis Poetry Chapbook Award for 1997. Her poetry collected here has a cosmic voice. Most of them give me the feeling that she's peering forward and out, seeking inspiration from whatever well it is that spawns speculation. The title piece, "Imprinting," is poignant, examining survival as seen from the perspective of a robot and five baby geese. Several of the poems have a strong undercurrent of birth-images, whether it be hatching eggs or hatching galaxies. McGarry even describes space travel with egg-shell imagery. She doesn't glamorize space, she cautions against the madness of machines, interplanetary war, and the pull of home.

Not all the poems are classic science fiction. There are deeply personal poems like "Palpable hit," the darkly funny "Et tu, Homo," and classically romantic "Delphinius."

A nice contrast, This Impatient Ape by Steven Utley is turned more inward, discovering the bones of earth's past, the alternate paths we may have taken, and the sky that sees it all. The book begins with the past. Utley muses on the first creature to crawl to shore in "Our Brave Terranaut" and offers an ode to survival in "To A Scorpion." His poetry has an undercurrent of humour, and I particularly liked a short piece where he muses about what future archaeologists would think of us when our bones are being unearthed.

Utley asks us to imagine a what-if world of Aztec superiority, the tragic premature death of a notorious assassin, and other alternative takes on American history. He wonders at the self-destruction of galaxies and the speed of tachyons. The short title piece sums up this book precisely. "This Impatient Ape" thinks the universe travels too slowly, and wants to know what the rest of the universe is doing right now. Steven Utley does a wonderful job of wondering.

Copyright © 1998 S. Kay Elmore

S. Kay Elmore is a graphic artist, writer and corporate wage slave. She edits The Orphic Chronicle, an online magazine, and tries to make ends meet by writing and developing corporate newsletters and web sites.


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