Quiet Insurrections

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  

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Naked for Tea, Poems by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

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.

 

 

The Trickster

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 Trickster

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.

“At the Franciscan Retreat, Colorado”

Heartfelt thanks to the good folks at Plough Quarterly for publishing my new poem below:

 

At the Franciscan Retreat, Colorado

Daniel Klawitter

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. – Psalm 42:1

A congregation of devout deer
appeared over the hill
and came down to graze
on a Eucharist of leaves:

The new, green goodness
of God’s good spring.

Initially, there was no rapture
just a rupture in my reverie.

I had no idea what might occur:
smoking my cigarette outside
like a thurifer.

It didn’t seem to bother them though:
the smoke. They must have known
I wasn’t a wildfire.
Just another man sacrificing himself
in the wilderness.

And then, with magnificent tenderness,
one of the deer got so near to me…
20 feet or less. We were now
in the same sanctuary of grass.

For some reason I looked away and
stretched out my left hand
thinking: “This too shall pass.”
But it did not.

The deer approached without fear
his black nose nuzzled
my palm, the nostrils flaring.

And that was it.
Who blessed who I don’t know.
But he left as gentle
as a penitent.

 

The Heavenly Virtues of Poet Joan Colby

Joan Colby is one of the best poets writing today in the United States. The density of her diction consistently blows off the top of my head, which as Emily Dickinson once told us, is a sign of true poetry. I mean, for God’s sake, read this one line aloud: “The censer disburses incense as the icons/Collude in the hooded niches.” Doesn’t your mouth just feel lush and smarter afterwards?

A poet’s individual diction (or “voice”) is arrived at by the level of command the writer has over vocabulary, and Joan’s command is exquisite. Her syntax (how the poet places the order of the words in a line) is also practically flawless. And as if all that wasn’t enough, her ability to conjure up deeply resonant images is nothing short of sheer sorcery. Here is just one example, the poem “Vigil Lights”:

A long taper sets the flame
Quivering in its ruby placenta.
Fetus of faith, the words yet unspoken, hope
A shimmer in a low glass. Dead-eyed saints
Stand in alcoves to witness
The plaint of a woman, how tears
Can’t move the stone heart of the god
Of justice. Light raying through the rose window
Divides into its parts, a spectrum
Of necessities. Swing the golden censer
As a child might, alight with mischief,
Incense flooding the kneelers of contrition.
The crucifix where the petitioners’ pleas
Suspend in naked agony. Fat little candles
Squatting in caskets to smoke and gutter
Like garbled syllables of an abandoned language.
Each tongue of fire, a spirit, a ghost
Trembling with the desperation
Of every seeker in the world’s
Terrifying cathedral.

Are you kidding me? This is the kind of poetry that makes other poets want to give up writing. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Seven Heavenly Virtues.

Swan’s Way by Marcel Proust: An Appreciation

Stephen Breyer has called Proust “the Shakespeare of the inner world.” And it’s an apt comparison on several levels: Like Shakespeare, Proust seems to be capable of almost jaw-dropping creativity and overflow on the page. It doesn’t seem possible that one author could so prolifically explore so much and create almost a brand new form of consciousness in prose.

Proust is not, as many people know, an “easy” author, but patience on the part of the reader will be rewarded. Slow but steady is the best way to read him I think. The first 25 pages of Swann’s Way is basically an extended mediation on how the narrator as a little boy tried to get his mother to come kiss him good night (which probably sounds rather boring to some people, but I found it funny as hell). And the slowness and fluidity of the narrative is part of the charm. Proust’s famously long sentences mirror the meandering nature of memory itself. I have never read anything quite like Swann’s Way. It is a novel of paradox: both very concrete and amazingly abstract, both interior and exterior, almost cinematic…like a literary film in words of one person’s inner world and perceptions.

And Proust is profoundly comical. In elegant prose, he pokes fun at aristocrats and pretending social climbers in lines like: “He seemed to be exhibiting at once an utter contempt for his person and the most tender regard for his hat.” And: “People who enjoyed picking up antiques, who liked poetry, despised sordid calculations of profit and loss, and nourished ideals of honour and love, she placed in a class by themselves, superior to the rest of humanity. There was no need to actually have those tastes, as long as one proclaimed them.”

As critic Harold Bloom has remarked, Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” (of which Swann’s Way is the first volume), “is so meditative a work that it transcends Western canons of judgment. It is wisdom literature. Aesthetic salvation is the enterprise of his vast novel…and the book’s grandeur and its irony defend it from fools.”