Mission Work, by Baker, Aaron
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- ISBN: 9780618982677 | 0618982671
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 3/18/2008
Mission Work is an arresting collection of poems based on Aaron Baker's experiences as a child of missionaries living among the Kuman people in the remote Chimbu Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Rich with Christian and Kuman myths and stories, the poems explore Western and tribal ways of looking at the world-an interface of vastly different cultures and notions of spirituality, illuminated by the poet's own struggles as he comes of age in this unique environment.The images conjured in Mission Work are viscerally stirring: natives slaughter pigs for a Chimbu wedding ceremony; a cloud of mosquitoes moves through a slender ray of sunlight; hands sting as they beat a drum made of dried snakeskin. Quieter moments are shot through with the unfamiliar as well. In "Bird of Paradise," a father angles his son's head toward the canopy of the jungle to catch sight of an elusive bird.Stanley Plumly, this year's judge for the Bakeless poetry prize, states, "Throughout this remarkably written and felt first book, the reader, like the author himself, 'can't tell if this is white or black magic,' Christian, tribal, or both at once."