Monday, May 9, 2011

Fire Poems

Fire Poems
Reviewed by Ray Zimmerman

Fire is a destroyer and a cleanser. It is a force of nature from which we warm ourselves, cook our food, and flee in terror when it is beyond our control. All of these elements appear in Finn Bille's soon to be released collection, Fire Poems.
The book opens with the author awakened from a pleasant dream to a crashing burning home, from which he and his wife escape through a window. The glass has melted and cracked away to create the portal for their escape and rebirth. The cleansing fire burns away a dead starling, trapped in a window screen.
Through the entire book, the beat of Finn's Djembe drum resonates, the goat skin head cracked and burned way, the hollow body shooting flame. Perhaps the most poignant of all images appears in the short poem ashes, in which a Plum Wood Flute, now gone, was once a blossoming twig, once a source of music and joy.
As the flames continue their rampage, furniture, paintings, musical instruments, and household icons alike fall victim to the destruction. A favorite coffee mug escapes only cracked, and a window is reformed for their new home. A copy of his previous book, “Rites of the Earth,” escapes with charred pages. From these bits and pieces they reconstruct their lives.

Northbound Single Lane

Northbound Single Lane
Marsha Mathews

Mathews explores, with two children in tow, the wonders of a museum, an Appalachian trail, a garden plot in her new home and her first view of snow. Add to these stories a few more with themes of pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, falling in love, divorce, and single parenting. Mathews provides a tightly woven work which scales the heights of human experience and emotion.
For male readers, many of the topics in Northbound Single Lane are terra incognita, so the first poem to strike a resonant chord for me was”Death Pulls me South.” This poem is the author's tale of her travel to her dad's funeral. It called to mind my own fathers death, at 92, and his graveside service, complete with bugle and twenty-one gun salute. The visitation she describes is quite different, but loss and mourning are universal, and her words bring the point home with eloquence and sad beauty.

Reviewed by Ray Zimmerman, Executive Editor
Southern Light Press

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More Storm Poems


In it
Me 2

My Neighborhood

Flowers among rocks
Campfires and Whiskey
Candles in the Wind


Officials give impressive speeches.
Little boy rides by on tricycle.
Brmm Brmm Brmm
Blah Blah Blah
Bye Bye.

Friday, May 6, 2011

another storm poem

A Mother

Dropped one of
at elementary, another
at high school.

Saw the funnel,
sheltered in
a convenience store.

which daughter she
should go to first.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

5 Star Review

Carolyn Sieradzki, a former Chattanooga resident gave Southern Light a five star review on It is reprinted bewlow.

When I read poetry, I expect to hear music and see light, to sense cadence and color as well as to learn, even obliquely, something about the poet’s experience. I grew up in the South and I know whereof the poets whose poems appear in Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets speak. The music created by these poets, by their accents, by their well-chosen, well-placed words delights the ear. The quality of light, that Southern Light of the title, is the light that I remember from childhood, piercing and surrounding, sharp and mellow, illuminating external events that everyone experiences and internal realizations that only the individual suspects. From public history to personal pain they have left very little out, but one wants more. If you read only one book this summer, read Southern Light. It will take you to places you remember well and to places you have only imagined before.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Storm Poem

I wrote this while watching the dance/ceremony for healing on the Walnut Street Bridge yesterday. May we all feel the healing.

The Healing

The dance is not linear.
Forward and back
the dancers turn.
Elaborate moves
heal the hurt
by nonlinear winds,
whirling in
their greatest power

Tai Chi master
plays wooden flute.
Guitar strings vibrate.
Energy of peace
stronger than solid earth
which cracks beneath
a nuke plant.
Tsunami wipes out
coastal villages.

Homeless man stands
before the dancers
Backs across bridge.
Seems to preside.