Book Report: Field Stones by Robert Kinsley (1997)

Book coverThis book, the less expensive of the books by this author that I spotted at Hooked on Books almost a month ago, is the work of a professional poet. The author is the assistant editor at The Ohio Review at the time, so he’s definitely a pro. But for all that, it’s not so bad.

Some of the poems to do fall to the two-to-four-syllable-lines problem. How can you develop a thought or image in lines that short? Short answer: unless your name is Issa and some of the beauty of the poetry is in the brushstrokes themselves, you can’t. But modern poets lurve it, and when I read poems like that, I can here them reciting a couple of short words and then pausing ponderously at the end of the line. Eesh.

At any rate, many of the poems contrast growing up on the farm with today, which although it was then was later than growing up on a farm. I liked it a little more than I thought I would, but I found enough in it to not dislike it.

But none of the poems really touched me. You know, I’ve read a lot of poetry this year–what, about 20 books, give or take how you account for some of them–and not many of the poems or poets stick with me. I liked some of the Mary Phelan and John Ciardi I read this year, the poem I remember most en toto and even quote bits of to myself comes from Robert Hayden whom I read in 2020. So I guess the best I get out of most poetry is that’s nice and move on.

Perhaps that’s the best I can hope for from people reading my poetry. Or people reading my poetry at all.

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