Bringing together 2 cultural forms of good luck exemplifies some of the more fun poems in the collection. Various puns and cross-stitchings of image and implication make the collection surprisingly wide-ranging.
As Catlin himself notes, Asylum Garden “is a book about seeing: what we see and how we see it.” Like his previous volumes, Wild Beauty and American Odyssey, Catlin’s poems here are inspired by artists and photographers. Blue Velvet and Hollyweird, two other recent collections, similarly find inspiration in grade B movies.
Nina Wingard Freese was a retired special education teacher of autistic students who died as a result of ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease. Contemplative and enhanced with photographs, the book presents Nina as a little girl and again several more times as she is growing up and as a young mother and then as a handsome, mature woman.
It is fascinating to watch Jeanne’s character transformation. Early in the novel, she is businesslike, professional, and analytical. She wishes to get things done quickly so she can get back to work. But slowly, cracks in that façade emerge, and she learns human emotions are not business transactions or “deals” to be made.
Having lived in Wyoming for the past four years, reading it was verification for what I see, experience, and find problems with, constantly. I have often thought that Wyoming’s undeserving motto is a farce in comparison with its laws, policies, priorities, and politicians. And here was a Wyoming woman who lived, captured, and published the cruel reality of being a minority in this state with so much detail, accuracy, and innocence.
Though the topic of Food or War is inherently uncomfortable, the book is beautifully written, wide-reaching in its scope, intelligently presented with detailed and careful evidence. Cribb writes eloquently about complex, and in many cases poorly understood, topics.
Whether serious or silly, Reese’s prose reads like poetry. He says more in a paragraph than most authors achieve over several pages. The final chapters are the shortest and most personal vignettes featuring his wife, daughters and co-workers. Reese finds the profound in everyday, parochial life in Bone Chalk.
We cannot currently survive in this world without agriculture–our food needs are dependent on farmers, but we all know that our food system must change quickly, if humans (and other creatures) are to survive as a race. As both scientist and farmer, Patrice Newell understands this conundrum all too well.
Richness of character and content run throughout the collection. These represents the author’s wealth of resources and display her thoughtfulness resulting from inward reflection, along with her ability to define external scenes surrounding her.
The poems in this section express deep feelings for nature as is characteristic of the genre. The sensory details and expressive language in this section are enhanced with striking imagery and in some of them, deep emotions.
Recipe for Garum is an unusual book: very well written and entertaining. Reading it is a quiet pleasure.