In Medicine Show, inner conflict is wonderfully realized in the clash of down-home plain speech and European high culture utterances. Freely translating and adapting Catullus (Latin), Villon (Middle French), Corbiere (French), Hikmet (Turkish), and Orpheus (Greek), and placing them alongside Jagger and Richards, skinheads, and psalms, Tom Yuill’s book mirrors an old-style hawking of wares, with all the charm and absurdity that results when high culture meets pop, when city meets small town, and when provincialism confronts urbanity. Here, the poems talk to one another, one poem nudging the cusps of many others, those poems touching still others’ circumferences. Yuill, by invoking the Rolling Stones as muses and as background music, offers cover versions of Shakespeare, Keats, and Dylan Thomas, ultimately giving us a new kind of verse, funneled through the languages and rhythms of his masters’ voices.
"Tom Yuill’s Medicine Show almost bursts its seams with its canny exuberance. Raucous, uncouth, elegiac, filial, tender, polished, and rough, these poems pay homage to lost parents, whether the biological mother and father or the poetic ancestors, Catullus, Villon, and Hikmet. Yuill wrings his own tunes from Texas stomp, the Rolling Stones, and the lyric masters of English. He’s reinventing fireworks."
Table of Contents
Bit: An Ode with the Rolling Stones Playing in the Background
Ode to the Wind
Two Easy Odes
The Blue-Eyed Giant, the Miniature Woman, and the
The Blue Balloon
You Were Not Hanged, and It Was Not Science
To Love Thrown Like a Rope
Dinner Party in the South: A Vision
Embers of an Ode
Father to Son
To the Sound of a String as It Snaps
Debate with His Heart
Made of Coral