“James Ragan’s poems are full of arresting collocations and striking phrases. Sometimes the latter are mysterious, and sometimes (as in ‘the mimosa breathing the wind’s still spirit’) they take a fresh look at some aspect of the world. ‘Audienea,’ from which I have just quoted, is one of the most satisfying poems in this distinctive book.” Richard Wilbur
The Hunger Wall
978-0-8021-3478-3 • $11.00 • Paperback • Sep. 1996
In 1992, critically acclaimed poet James Ragan was in Los Angeles when riots exploded across racial and class lines. That same year he was also living in Prague when Czechoslovakia divided into two separate nations, motivated by the principles of “nationalism.” This odd coincidence forms the crux of his new, eagerly anticipated book of poetry.
The poems in The Hunger Wall, named for a wall near the Prague Castle, take these two cultural sensibilities that seem worlds apart and explore the subtle nuances of their unlikely similarities. In beautifully crafted and metaphorically rich language, Ragan studies what it means to set a “border,” whether it be political, racial, or economic. The Hunger Wall examines a continually changing world—a world of shifting cultural identities in which the widening gap between the rich and the poor is dangerously explosive.