This is honestly one of the best and most enjoyable books of poetry I’ve ever read.
As someone who cut his teeth on “eastern” verse, I’m no stranger to shorter poems. I’ve often heard it said that less time on stage means less can go wrong, i.e. shorter poems are somehow easier to write–an idea that I’ve always found ridiculous. With shorter poetry, there’s actually a lot more riding on every word, every syllable. But J.R. Solonche is more than up to the challenge. In this book, Solonche is sharing a lifetime of wit and experience, a whole library of bittersweet moments and insights–and all of it, free of pretension.
I can’t stress this enough: this is honestly one of the best and most enjoyable books of poetry I’ve ever read, and I’ve read thousands. This is also the rare sort of book that you could hand either to a factory worker or a gilded academic and both would be left speechless. The playfulness, humor, and accessibility of these poems blend so perfectly with the underlying brilliance and craft that these poems seem effortless, though they’re anything but. As I was reading this, I kept asking myself, “How is this poem NOT being taught in classrooms all around the world? And what about that one? And this one? And that one?!”
I used to teach a class on Zen poetry, where we frequently read stuff by the ancient Chinese poets, as well as contemporaries like Billy Collins, Kenneth Rexroth, etc. I wish I were still teaching that class because I can guarantee that this book would be a class favorite. It’s certainly a favorite of mine.
Descent & Other Poems listed on Australian Book Review 2016 Books of the Year. On the ABR Website, if you scroll down about 3/4 of the way to Felicity Plunkett’s section, Timothy Ogene’s book is mentioned, with a link to the press blog: Nigerian-born Timothy Ogene’s Descent and Other Poems examines love, doubt, solitude and migration in attentive, luminous poems. Thank you Felicity Plunkett! Descent & Other Poems is available on the site with free shipping in the US.
Other news: titles on the way for 2017. At this link three forthcoming titles and endorsements appear. The titles are: Combed by Crows by Dennis Camire; Kafka’s Shadow by Judith Skillman; Never Completely Awake by Martina R. Newberry.
The Ozymandias Effect, poetry by Martina R. Newberry
This poem is from the forthcoming new title Never Completely Awake, by Martina Reisz Newberry, due out in 2017 from Deerbrook Editions.
Read noteworthy endorsements for Martina’s books here on her site.
A progression in verse by way of decreasing duration ie. length of lines and numbers of words -while the purport remains provocative, humorous, poignantly astute.
Won’t Be Long
Poems Short, Poems Shorter, Poems Shortest
by Solonche, J. R.
Paperback 5 x 7; 182 pages
J.R. Solonche is the author of Beautiful Day, also available on this Website.
(this poem does not appear in Won’t Be Long)
Over the coffee cold in the coffee cups
Over the conversation cold in the conversation cups
Why do these people call
They want help
They want an answer
They want solutions
Everyone behaves irrationally
The most intelligent
The most rational
They all do the dumbest things
So what do you conclude from that
Everyone behaves irrationally
Is there any other conclusion
Hey, this coffee is cold
Probably the biggest news is our own Stuart Kestenbaum is the new Maine Poet Laureate. His titles continue to be popular. This and other news can be found on the new Website.
Other news includes a new review for No Passing Zone also reviewed in the American Book Review, along with Wars Don’t Happen Anymore and links to that review, as well as poems appearing in journals, are on the Website page. Take a look at the new Website with new navigation features like drop-down menus, pages for author’s info and books, and of course free shipping in the US when you order from the Website. In the past 16 months, twelve new titles have been added to the list, so check out the quality work.
Lots of new books from 2015 & 2016: check the site for the latest titles
The Vagabond’s Book Shelf by Dawn Potter
Wars Don’t happen Anymore by Sarah White
Descent & Other Poems
The Conversation by Dawn Potter
A Passing by Joan Siegel
Beautiful Day by JR Solonche
Middle of the Night prose & poetry by HC Hsu
Once It Stops by Florence Fogelin Cover photo by Rosamond Orford
Yellow Horses by Martin Steingesser
The Congress of Human Oddities by Teresa Carson
The World Disguised as This One by Mimi White