Okay, our first foray into April and National Poetry Month. While most of the month I would assume something more like a mention of a poem or two, to start we'll go with a full on review (or what stands for one here at the EWN).
Book Review 2010-003
Adam Robison and Other Poems by Adam Robinson
2010 by Narrow House Publishing 85 pages
(I pre-ordered this collection)
One of the first things I noticed while reading Adam Robinson's poems was that he was either a really bright guy, or a very inquisitive one with access to Google or Wikipedia. Frederick Law Olmstead, Erma Ruth Rogers Tyner, Max Schmeling, Joe Louis, Glenn Tipton, Bas Jan Adler, Soren Kierkegaard, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, Elisabeth Elliot, Brahms, Martin Luther, and many more people from real life draw Adam's interest and words. The next thing I noticed was the seeming lack of form, in general, in the collection. Not reading enough poetry myself, I'm not fully sure there really is a lack of form in this work, but the seeming lack of form was something that drew me into the work. What is did for me, after a couple of reads, was come to the conclusion that he was writing exactly what he intended to, and not being forced into tacking on extra words, or chopping off excessive words, in order to fit to a three lines per stanza type of poetry.
To write this poem I listened to two songs by Judas Priest.
When I was a boy Judas Priest was forbidden.
In Sunday School we laughed at their name and played with it like it was something hot. We did this with Metal Church and Black Sabbath too. We dared each other to utter these names.
And so begins, Glenn Tipton, one of the poems in the 2nd of 4 sections the poems are broken into. This section, while seemingly concentrating on biographical poems about different individuals, frequently lead to Robinson determining something that has more to do with his current life than with the life being discussed. For instance, discussing Judas Priest and other bands of this nature, Robinson slowly works to the conclusive line of the poem: "I feel like I wasn't raised to appreciate other perspectives".
There's a lot of death in Robinson's poems:
"We're going to die in four years" from Curtis Ebbesmeyer, Leading Authority on Flotsam
"Brahms died in 1897" from Brahms
"And my worst thing that died was a dog" from It's Down to Mom of CLAUDIIIIIINE
And lines like these tend to end the poems. That's not to say that everything in Robinson's work is of a negative viewpoint. Not at all. He has the ability to write things like the above, that upon quick examination might seem like downer material, without having the reader feel crushed as each poem ends. There is something somewhat uplifting earlier within each work that these lines are just drawing the reader back down to level ground from.
I'm going to close out my review with what, at least of this last reading, is my favorite of the collection:
The SkepticI'm looking for a balance
between not God and God
or all the little birds
on Jaybird Street
I enjoy this one, like many of Robinson's poems, because I like images and thoughts he suggests, without fully understanding them; they make me think a bit. I'm not fully sure he expects me to understand exactly what he's written - after all, these words come from inside his own head, not mine. They do make me think though, and typically with a smile.