I picked up this collection of poetry at ABC Books on one of the classified gift card runs this December. I didn’t do Good Book Hunting posts on them because I bought only a couple of books each time and a handful of gift cards. I mainly hang out in the martial arts, poetry, philosophy, local, and now the classical literature sections over there. I tend to start with the local and rotate counter clockwise through these sections. I’m prone to picking up inexpensive poetry collections. I think I got this one because it’s from Coffee House Press in Minnesota, and the title is similar to my collection Coffee House Memories. So I spent $3.50 on it.
Which might have been too much.
Even though it’s from 1988, it’s still too modern for my tastes. The short line breaks and the choppy mouth feel don’t lend themselves to good, evocative images or pleasure in reading aloud (even if it’s just in your head). The poet is Native American, so there’s a lot of Mother Earth, Brother Crow tropes in it; given that there’s not much else, it really stands out in not a good way.
So someday I’ll have to pen my “What makes a good poem?” essay, and it’s the contrasts with material like this that help me really dial in on the good stuff. Most of which comes from the ninteenth century.