Even though I write poetry, I’m not actually much of a consumer of it. All of my favorite poets are dead except my brother and Leonard Cohen, so I tend to go back and re-read poems I’ve loved instead of seeking out anything new. I use poetry as meditation, and my old favorites always offer new insights when viewed through the lens of added experience. It’s all about me, really.
Also, as a Poet in an all but nonexistent market, I tend to view other poets with a jealous and disdainful eye, as if by liking another’s poetry I’ll be encouraging competition, which is ridiculous – especially since I haven’t even tried to publish.
In spite of that, when Christine Rice offered an ebook version of her latest book of poems for me to review, I took her up on it out of curiosity. Then I got it up on-screen, was distracted by the phone and never got back to it until tonight.
I just got home from my father’s birthday party, and the old man and a friend gave me a lift home – had to bum a ride because the wife’s got the only car. I arrived home pissed at my dad, because he lit up a smoke while we were in the car with my 20 month old daughter, then had the gall to ask “why?” when I asked him to put it out.
To cut short the confessional crap, my point is that I wasn’t in a very good mood when I sat down at the computer again this evening, but Christine’s words cheered me up somehow.
There’s nothing showy or flashy about the book or the poems inside, no dazzling wordplay or complex metaphors that leave you gaping at the implications. The intelligentsia aren’t going to use this one to lord it over anyone, there aren’t any inside jokes here.
At least, I don’t think there are, maybe I’m too dumb to get them.
It seems to me though, that hese poems really are for the heart, from the heart. There’s an innocence to them that’s endearing. I’ve shared similar dreams and values, but my own work is generally much darker, less redemptive, more angry.
Strangely for a guy like me, this low-key, honest, straightforward little book has left me feeling inspired. I’m thinking I might throw some of my own poems into an e-book and see what happens.
I like it.
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Actually there’s an exception – the poem about the cat. I’m currently waiting hopefully for my wife’s cat to either die or get put down. It’s her cat, so she’s going to have to be the one to do it, but it’s probably going to take a vet telling her it’s the kindest option for it to happen.
He’s driving me nuts.
He’s old and sick and pees on everything, pukes all over, meows half the night every single night, and I’m allergic to cats. In terms of the annoyance factor, he’s the perfect storm.
To tell you the truth, I’ve almost never lived with a cat I didn’t eventually wish dead, so I skipped the “I love my cat” poem.
I’m a very bad man. Schroedinger’s Cat seems like a worthwhile experiment to me.