A big thank you to writer and artist J.I. Kleinberg for writing a review of my book of poetry The Lure of Impermanence (Cirque Press 2018), in the most recent volume of Cirque Journal – Vol. 10. No. 1. You can check the complete review by going to the Cirque link above.
Reviews are scary things. Having your work judged by another takes a certain amount of armor. Putting yourself out there is a bit like being back in Junior High and wondering if you are going to be asked to sit at the “cool kids” table.
With that said, Judy was kind and gave me one of the biggest compliments I could have craved. As many of you know, who follow this blog, my last blog post was called Return Flight and I wrote about flying home to my beloved Pacific Northwest. Kleinberg says my poems are painterly and cinematic, that they are crafted with care and precision, all of which I appreciate. But what I especially appreciate is that she “got” my poems are rooted in most profoundly,place and anchored in the towns of Oregon and Washington.
I hope in some small way my writing can be a witness to how place has the ability to nurture and shape us. I am a fourth generation Oregonian. My family stories are rooted west of the Cascade Mountain Range in both these States and I believe like William Stegner that no place is a place until things that have happened in it are remembered in history, ballads, yarns, legends or monuments. And though not all the poems in this collection are about place, I appreciate that Kleinberg felt its presence important to note.
Here is a poem from this collection that began in a small fishing town on the Southern Oregon Coast and a picture of me about the time I was in fact hanging off these small town docks.
No matter the journey. No matter other roads taken. No matter you misplaced the map of your life behind a wheel of grief. No matter you took a multitude of detours.
Because as you look out the plane window, you understand the agency of this place. How it has been etched in your mind over decades of slow accrual through streams you have fished, forests you have hiked, mountains you have climbed, lakes you have swam in, oceans you have sailed.
And how like its great river that flows to the sea, it also flows through you, and you call it by name—home.
I am honored to have my poem “Pub Tour in the Wicklow Mountains” published by Tales From The Forest. This poem found the perfect home back in Ireland where it all began.
May you all have adventures, may you find magic in the chance encounter, may you sit with strangers and know the words to songs they sing, may you have moments where the predictable gets tossed out the car window and you inhale the mystery of dark hills filled with secrets.
While sitting at a picnic table eating an apple and cheese I was staring North at the beauty of Mt. St. Helens in the Cascade Mountain Range. I felt grateful I had the good luck to be born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.
I was also marveling at my younger self who had climbed this very mountain 30 years earlier shortly after it had blown its top.
How had I done it? Now it seemed like an almost impossible task. And yet, I did it the same way I write a poem, word by word, line by line, stanza by stanza, step by step until you reach a destination and know you have finally arrived.
And then, like after writing a poem, you look around and see the world through new eyes.
Often a poem helps me remember what I don’t want to forget or to be grateful for the ordinary moments where connection is made or sometimes, to truly see something for the first time.
And so while looking at a beautiful mountain, thinking this is enough, I turn and see a halo around the sun. A sight I never remember having seen in my lifetime. And suddenly, there it is—all your longing hanging in the sky, waiting for you to feed its hunger.
The poet invites us to share in her pursuit of identity; to witness the dramatization of the daily events of his/her experience so closely resembling our own; to be haunted by the imagery of her dreams or the flowing stream of his consciousness; to eavesdrop on relationships with friends and lovers; to absorb the shock of her deep seated fears.
I always admire poets who paint a vivid, compelling picture of a setting or situation that seems, on its surface, to be “about” one thing– but through the smallest inflections and details, suggests something deeper. Carey Taylor is one of these poets, and her new collection The Lure of Impermanenceis full of poems like this.
In “Pomology,” we have only one line to anchor us in the unmentioned story– “morphine drips”– while the rest of the poem gives us a tender portrait of the speaker’s father’s passionate knowledge of a certain kind of apple. He is telling the nurse, in detail, about the apples’ “low disease susceptibility,/ how they are foolproof really,/ reliable, well balanced,/ and sweet,” while his wife lies in a hospital bed. He has just asked the nurse “how long before his wife can go home,” and the unanswered question hangs in the space between the…
I am delighted to be sharing a reading venue with poets Meredith Clark and Lynne Ellis for this event. We will be reading on Saturday, April 6th from 5:00 – 5:45 PM, at Dick and Jane’s Spot in downtown Ellensburg, Washington.
If you are interested in hearing poems about the passage of time, impermanence and memory, come on down and say hi. I’d love to see you.