(A Poetica~Place book review by Christina) It was a quiet, overcast afternoon when I was pleasantly surprised with a copy of Quiet Insurrections by one of Colorado’s more talented poets: Daniel Klawitter. I am familiar with some of his earlier work (namely, Plato Poetica) and find Quiet Insurrections to be highly engaging, which every introspective […]
The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement is a book of poems by Diane Lockward published in 2016. An engrossing and often mesmerizing collection, Lockward has a distinct poetic voice: narrative and personal, often plumbing below the crust of sorrow and remembrance to retrieve “the earth wet, but not washed clean.” Many of the poems play in that hard-to-find place between funny and tragic without ever fully capitulating to cynicism. Consider the last stanza of the poem titled “Why I Read True Crime Books”:
I won’t be broken by the book in my hands.
That vacant stare, the mayhem, the empty bed,
all theirs, not ours the grief in that flowerless house.
There are many poems here that are located in the private realms of domesticity…marriage and loss and perseverance inside the walls of the household…squirrels and birds doing their thing in backyards. And more philosophical poems including my favorite poem of the whole collection: “The Light Sets the Record Straight.” It is a perfect poem…every word and line crafted exactly where it was meant to be. You can read it along with another four poems from the book here.
The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement is surely one of the best titles for a poetry book in years. Don’t leave them uneaten though. Buy and feast. Your eyesight will be improved.
Disinheritance is a deeply impactful and haunting full-length collection of poems from Oregon-based poet John Sibley Williams: an extended and lyrical mediation on mortality and grief…a journey through the “deep unreturnable winter.” The poems included here all have the flavor of “Something like prayer/but without the certainty.” John has a very real talent for inviting readers into the poetic/linguistic spaces he creates so that (despite the very personal place from which these poems arise) they do not read as obscure private mythologies or unfiltered emotional outbursts. All of us have (or will have) experienced loss and moments of despair, and in those times, many of us turn to poetry to put into words that which is unsayable in prose. Williams takes us gently by the elbow and walks us through his imagistic landscapes where faith “has forever been rendered/a shallow cup/ inches from our lips.” Yet there is a chastened hope in these poems as well, an affirmation of the balm of art to sanctify memory and experience. There are no easy or flippant answers to grief in these poems. But there is an honest, clear-eyed swimming upstream “toward the temporary holiness of knowing.” Williams never tells us WHAT to believe. He is the opposite of a didactic poet. Instead, he SHOWS us through his artful words a multitude of mental pictures that help us feel and imagine what he has felt and imagined. This is a book of poems that truly invites rereading because its depths are almost as inexhaustible as the rivers and ghosts that run through it.
I am delighted to announce the release of my new book of poems, Quiet Insurrections, courtesy of Kelsay Books!
Below is some advanced praise on its release:
Quiet Insurrections is a joyous, playful romp of a book—a rare and memorable treat. Through fresh and often funny twists on both free and formal verse, Daniel Klawitter serves up a juicy cornucopia of superb sound, subtle spirituality, and refreshing silliness. The poet’s distinctive blend of both deep wisdom and hilarious insight linger in every delicious, well-crafted line. “Read on and be amazed…” he says—and we are.
-Joy Roulier Sawyer, author of Tongues of Men and Angels
Klawitter’s delight in the sounds of words and in indulging his quirky imagination is infectious. He clearly had a good time writing the poems in Quiet Insurrections, and his readers will have a good time reading them. But Klawitter’s sense of play is not only humorous. “A Flock Made Flesh” and “At the Franciscan Retreat Center, Colorado Springs,” for instance, employ startling metaphysical conceits. There are poems here to draw the reader in to discover, in Klawitter’s words, “the poem behind the poem.”
-Luke Stromberg, Assistant Director of the West Chester University Poetry Conference
I had the distinct pleasure of hearing southwest Colorado poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer last night at the BookBar in Denver, CO. She is a wise, open-hearted and compassionate poet who has a charming practice of inscribing some of her poems on river rocks that she then leaves around town for unsuspecting humans to discover and delight in.
Her newest book of poems is Naked for Tea, a finalist for the 2017 Able Muse Book Award, and just released by Able Muse Press. As Wayne Muller writes in the foreword to the book: “Reading Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer is to float upon a never-ending waterfall of wonder…Pay attention. The elegance of her simplicity will blind you to her mastery. Then, she will let you fall, head over heals, in Love. With everything.” You can get your copy of Naked for Tea here.
Happy to share that I have two new poems, including “The Trickster” below, in the latest issue of Stinkwaves Magazine, “a PG-13 literary magazine that can be read by adults and kids alike.”
The coyote creeps thru raindrops
And slinks between the trees.
So crafty and so cunning
With a trick up every sleeve.
He likes the taste of porcupine
And has a sense of humor.
He gifted fire to humankind,
At least, that is one rumor.
He’s not a wolf and not a dog,
But something in between.
Perhaps he is a demigod
Who isn’t what he seems.
I’m an ice hockey guy, but here is a new short story by Colorado’s Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison that riffs off an old baseball joke.