When life gets busy and over-scheduled, even an inveterate reader may find she has to give up some of her precious book time to life’s other adventures and responsibilities. Philosophy and meditation require enough time for reflective, slow thinking; a hectic week precludes such activities. Creative thinking gets funneled into problem solving of a more mundane and practical variety. Creative writing? It may have to move, temporarily one hopes, to a back burner.
Last week was one of those over-scheduled periods when I take advantage of brief, unscheduled minutes to read short books. The beauty of reading short books is that the best short books reveal depths upon re-reading–one of the beauties of poetry as well. And if those short books happen to be books of poetry? “More’s the better,” as my great-aunt used to say.
During my crazy week, I managed to read three short collections of contemporary poetry, all by poets with whom I am personally (if marginally) acquainted. All three books are wonderful: layered, varied, well-crafted, interesting, moving, refreshing, surprising reflections on and of modern life with enough empathy and reach toward the “universal” to keep the poems valuable beyond today’s context. All three books are going on my re-read list so I can study and savor them again later, yet each collection is vivid and entertaining enough to read when crunched for time.
Will Greenway’s 1999 collection Simmer Dim was published by University of Akron Press and offers the reader a travelogue to many places in the world without as well as the more interior worlds of memory, relationships, and reflection. Greenway writes in both free verse and in rhyme, which he employs so well it seems natural even in the informal diction his work often takes.
April Lindner’s 2012 collection This Bed Our Bodies Shaped was published by Able Muse this summer. The poems offer the sense of a personal speaker, suggesting intimacy that is revealed subtly through well-crafted lines and images of flowers, scene-settings, and allusions from the classic to the modern (rock n roll). Lindner presents the woman’s perspective as individual, surprising, and non-stereotypical; when she writes about jobs, a lover, motherhood, or menopause, her observations are often quirky but wonderfully observed.
Elaine Terranova’s 2012 collection Dames Rocket was published by Penstroke Press. I love Elaine’s work, steeped as it is in the natural world, plausible and tactile, yet positively ascendant in tone. Her memoir-type poems evoke the kind of childhood that is fast becoming historical, and her awareness of that fact–the fact of aging–gives these pieces poignancy and occasional irony.
All three books are also available on Amazon.com. Or ask your librarian to locate a copy for you.