While in Berkley, I had many interesting conversation with my friend Johnny. (Johnny is always easy to talk too. Despite the time and distance between us, we are able to pick-up where we left off. Such friends are gifts.)
One of many interesting things Johnny told me was that chapbooks fly from the shelves at the distribution center where he works, while the full length collections have a tendency to slowly (slowly) meander their way to readers. It would make sense that lovers of compression would buy compressed books. (There is a lot more to be said on this topic, but pleasure before business–lets get to the poems.)
Alexis Vergalla chapbook, Letter Through Glass, is a beautiful example of a “little book” or rather big ideas bound tightly together by metaphor. Inquires into identity, loss, and an existential crisis all crafted to fit in a top-hat. Ah, poetry is magic and its rabbits are born ready to hump into more rabbits of scurry.
To share Vergalla’s poetry, I burned her poem “Before the Fires” into carving wood and left them on the hearth of a resteraunt. Hopefully these words will light their way to readers. Hopefully readers will follow the poem’s radiance.
Horses are emblems of freedom and power—the domesticated brought to epic proportions. I love how the power of a horse is lent to humans over time, yet that gift can (and often will) turn at the moment of broken trust. This dynamic ties freedom to an understanding of other—the horse will give you strength and speed, height and size, but in return it requires kindness, care, and resources. I can’t help but feel that the relationship between writing, writers, and readers is very similar to a horse and its rider.
Ann E. Michael’s chapbook The Capable Heart guides readers through the relationship between horses and people. She shows how horses are often mirrors to the self—how they train humans how to be humane. Here is an example:
I know horses, but I’m better acquainted with horse people. My dearest friend, Sarahbell, has an easier time talking to horses than people; somehow, this makes her easier to trust. She has promised to teach my son how to ride a horse—I know he will learn more from her about kindness in a couple of hours than I could teach him in a lifetime.
My son’s good friends, Zoe and Leif, are horse kids. They know and love horses. We invited them over to help make poetry cards out of Ann E. Michael’s chapbook to give to horses. It was Zoe’s idea that we should have a parade too. We paraded the dirt streets of our home in the AV looking for horses. We found them. And a goat. The goat even tried to follow us home, that’s how great poetry is—especially the poetry of The Capable Heart.
I’m excited to begin the New Year with a fresh approach to language.
2011 proved to be a year of chaos and lessons derived from chaos. Much happened this year, much changed, much was left unattended (like this blog unfortunately); it seemed like time in 2011 was off the leash. It took all I had to keep the year in my sights as it bounded through good and bad terrain. While I never lost hope for the magic of poetry, I did begin to question its function in the world. Why poetry? Seemed to be my daily mantra. At the arrival of the New Year—I found my answer—because poetry is beautiful.
The world can always use a little more beauty—or rather, a reminder from poetry that life is beautiful.
My resolution for 2012—to enjoy time—to run with it—live with it—and be “in love” with poetry. This is my goal: to physically take poetry everywhere I go and share it.
To launch this New Year’s resolution, I’d like to begin with
This amazing little book is as charming as it is heartbreaking. In this book, the work of “repairing” and “building” finds roots in the breaks of life. I highly recommend reading this collection. Take for an example the poem, “Ode To A House Jack:”
To bring Odes To Tools with me in my hometown, I decided to hand write Bonta’s poems onto Thank You Cards. I gave these “love letters to tools” to people who work with them everyday.
I met many kind, generous, and funny people while sharing Odes To Tools with my community. For this (and many other reasons), I’m grateful to Dave Bonta. His book has helped me connect with the physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects of my home–it has helped bring poetry closer to those who construct the home I love.
Odes To Tools is a tribute to the makers of this world—a testament for beauty.