Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Poetry Book To Be Read More Than Once

Music I Once could Dance To- Front Cover

My interview with poet, Roy Beckemeyer, ran Monday and Tuesday. Today, I'd like to feature Roy's first book of poetry, cover shown above. Some exciting news regarding the book is that it has been nominated for the High Plains Book Award in the poetry category. Results will be announced at the High Plains BookFest in Billings, MT October 2015. 

The poems in this book are ones that many readers can relate to. Roy does not write mystical verse that no one but the poet can decipher its meaning. He gives us poems about everyday happenings and memories of growing-up years. He takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary for his readers. Upon reading the assorted poesm in the book, I couldn't help but assess as a writer--he shows rather than tells and that is one reason his poetry appeals so much.

In the Introdution to the book, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, former Kansas Poet Laureate, said "Roy has a way of approachign poetry that is both expansive and precise. He instinctively trusts the image of the poem to convey the poem's layers of meaning, and he also leaps off any familiar edge to try new forms, new inspirations, and new rhythms to construct and unearth new poetry."

I especially liked the poems that show the reader the deep love Roy has for his wife, Pat. Not an I love you, Pat type of poem. Instead, his feelings for her run softly through the lines of an everyday expericnce of husband and wife. One of my favorites is At Watermark Books Before The Reading. The poem describes husband and wife looking at books, his observations of her and finally ending with lines that touched my heart:

               and you look up,
              catch my eye,
              cup your hands,
             and motion for me to share a cold sip
             from this well of words
            that you have found.

Another poem I particularly liked is titled A Year in Small-Town Illinois: 1953 in Tanka. Using this poetic form, Roy explores the small town where he grew up, one month at a time. One of the verses that appealed a lot to me because of its wonderful visual image and the sensory detail in the second line is this one:


           skating on Shoal Creek
           ice cracks like a rifle shot
           and transforms us both
           from skaters into swimmers
           huddled steaming by the fire

A poetry book is not to be read once and shelved. Oh no, it needs to read mutlitple times for you will find something new in it each successive reading. Lines you may have read but missed will suddenly stand out on the second or third reading. 

I believe one thing that impresses me about Roy Beckemeyer's poetry is the wide variety that he offers. The poems use different forms for various subjects.Some poets spend the majority of their writing life composing words about one or two subjects. In Music I Once Could Dance To, you'll be treated to many different topics.

The book can be ordered at Coal City Review and Press in Lawrence, KS for only $10. It is now in its second printing. 

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