Posts Tagged ‘book review’

Steve Isaak’s review of “Pitcher of Moon”

April 18, 2015

Steve Isaak is a poet and writer, a friend of almost 10 years.  He is prolific, and has been a poet many years ahead of me. Every so often, he publishes a poetry book and sends it to me to review.  I do the same.  Steve’s ability to wrestle with my poems and to create something new in my eyes about these works always amazes me.  And making that connection with other readers, but especially with other poets….always astounds me.

I am not sure why we write poetry, since it is a very marginalized medium today, but perhaps we write because we find souls in common and we don’t have to explain ourselves.  Steve has been a great encourager of my verse for the past 8 years and with supporters like him, well….they keep you going.

Steve has just published and sent me two more of his books.  They are heavy with what a real poet does and they take me a while to read and now…review.  Friend Steve, I’ll get to them, and a review, I promise….soon.

His website for reviews and literature is :

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pitcher of Moon by Jane Kohut-Bartels

(pb; 2014: poetry anthology)

From the back cover: “If there is a singular theme that informs and underlies the diverse poems in this book, it is compassion. An expansive emotive range is traversed here, from heart-rending tragedy and despair to the sunny light of humour and optimism, and through it all flows a deep river of compassion for humanity, the world, nature and its wondrous creatures”….. .

.” Overall review:

Pitcher is an excellent and mood-effective collection of theme-tight and -mingled verseworks. These themes, recurrent in Kohut-Bartel’s evolving, increasingly masterful collections, include: relationships — with family, spouses and Nature; the moment-to-moment vagaries of life and change, with their infinite permutatons and surprises.

This is a great anthology from a great poet (and all-around writer). It can be purchased here.

Standout Poems:

1.) “O Absalom!“: Desire and nature are one in this proclamatory, healing versework. (A different, less streamlined version of this appeared in Kohut-Bartels’ first poetry anthology A Seasoning of Lust.)

2.) “High Road“: A traveler makes a choice between divergent paths, with the help of an old man. This, with its poetry-familiar echoes of Robert Frost, breathes new life into a known metaphor.

3.) “A Dish of Skylarks“: Excellent poem with especially sharp writing and a laugh-out-loud finish. This is one of my favorite entries in this collection. Here’s a taste of it:

A dish of skylarks fell into my lap,

and I, ravenous with a multitude of hungers, ate them.

 Between burps one did escape,

shook himself, bowed, and offered a feather. . .

4.) “Imaginary Friends“: Straightforward and effective poem about a boy’s inner life and his physical reality.

5.) “Night Fire Road“: Stanza’d, vivid musing about a mysterious backroad.

6.) “Night Poem“: Excellent, aurally-rich versework. One of my favorites in this collection.

7.) “Poem For My Husband“: Tender, disturbing (for its veracities) work about the underlying nature and fragility of intimacy. This is an exemplary, nailed-it piece. One of my favorites in this anthology.

8.) “The Apple Tree“: Sad, warm and strangely hopeful poem about its titular object and the memory of illness. (This is an alternate version of a same-titled piece in Kohut-Bartels’ first anthology A Seasoning of Lust.)

9.) “Nippon Tsuki“: Beautiful, three-part Japanese-themed poem.

10.) “Autumn Coming“: This one is about a seasonal, possibly cosmic shift, as experienced in a moonlit pond.

11.) “Rude Spring“: Stark, excellent and effective take on the transition between winter and spring.

12.) “Turkey Vultures“: Interesting take on the titular bird.

13.) “The Thaw“: A woman’s new openness to love is equated with the warming of a creek. Excellent metaphorical work.

14.) “Autumn Poem of Mid-November“: Beautiful, superb poem.

15.) “Dusk“: Soothing, beautiful versepiece. One of my favorites in this collection.

16.) “Original Blessing“: The true nature of birth and divinity is poetically, effectively illustrated.

17.) “Snakes in the ‘Hood“: Gentle, loving stanza-work about the wrongly maligned snake (in the present) and its celebration in the distant past. One of my favorites in this anthology.

18.) “Attending to the Spirit in Spring“: Beautiful poem about its titular season.

19.) “Viva Negativa“: Stark-toned, excellent piece about the cyclic and inherent nature of winter.

20.) and 21.) “I Remember” and “I Wonder“: This companion-themed poems are two separate, progressive parts of a verse-story. The first poem, “I Remember,” shows a woman recalling her father’s death and how it affected her. The second, “I Wonder,” once again delves into the themes of darkness and parent-child relationships, this time in a different way.

22.) “Coppermine Road“: Vivid tale-verse about a Jersey copper mine and strange nature. One of my favorites in this collection

23.) “The Homecoming“: American history, memory and ambivalence shape the tone of this one. Especially good work.

Labels: favorite reads 2015, Jane Kohut-Bartels, poetry anthology

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