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The Innocence of Education, by Earl Carlton Huband
Good poems also do what Joseph Conrad proclaimed to be the ultimate purpose of his prose: above all, to make you see. Earl Huband has through his poems in The Innocence of Education awakened me to what venturing as a Peace Corps teacher into a totally foreign environment, language and culture such as Oman’s involves. The harshness of the terrain and climate is made clear in several poems about Ramadan, the ‘hot’ month of fasting. Huband’s agreeably self-deprecating persona often learns as much from the locals as they from him. He does this by brilliant vignettes of incidents that incorporate dramatic and often amusing twists in their tail, e.g. when he introduces his Arab colleagues to a breakfast of oatmeal but later is rebuked for having served them horse food; or believes that an Arab girl is scrutinizing him with her penetrating eyes until she is led away and he realizes that she is blind. His pithy poems are enlightening and entertaining. -Christopher M. Armitage, Professor of English, UNC-Chapel Hill