As you know from my blogs, I usually deal with children and young adult books. Reading in these genres has always been a passion of mine. But today I need you to be in a comfortable spot, preferably sitting, since I will introduce you to something a little different: two adult poets. Yes. Adult. Both of these men are very different in their style of writing. But both are equally amazing.
Ted Kooser paints wonderful word imagery in Delights & Shadows. Such gems as Tattoo; Mourners, Praying Hands, A Spiral Notebook and A Happy Birthday might be short in nature, but pack a real punch! The modern voice makes them perfect for long-time poetry readers and those being introduced for the first time. Kooser deals with many subjects, including his own mortality, but has created many poems that are truly alive!
Each poem deals with the every day, life, death, notebooks, tattoos, paintings, faith, even war and peace. Yet each one might have it look like he speaks of only a statue of praying hands or talking about how he celebrates a birthday, each one digs deeper than what is on the surface.
Lew Welch approaches poetry with a different delivery in Ring of Bone: Collected Poems (with Gary Snyder).
The world of one Beat poet is opened up in this collection. Written from approximately 1950 to around Welch’s presumed death in 1971, each shows you what is important to him and many of his generation. Explore the familiar (a walk across a make-shift bridge), the constraints of “normalcy” of the time (a man “should” have his hair short) to thoughts on his own mortality (his beard turning white when he is only 40) in haunting detail, depth and even simplicity of wording. Comments by Gary Snyder and Welch’s own words about his work connect everything together.
Welch might not be as well known as his peers, but his insights into life and death are as powerful and thoughtful as any of the Beat writers. Welch is a voice fresh even after all these years.
And, as always, come into the Northshire Bookstore to find these and other poets that speak as strongly to you as Kooser and Welch have spoken to this reader!