Can you tell?
I am thrilled for two reasons.
The former sort of depends on the latter, but let's go in order.
First, Jocelyn sent me this book of poems.
I love books, I love poetry, and I love Jocelyn, so clearly there is much to explain the gleeful-bordering-on-imbalanced smile on my face.
However, there is another reason.
If you're one of those few people who've read my blog over the last 4+ years (sweet, fancy Moses, can you believe it's been almost 5 years I've been at this?!?!) you would know that I have this thing, a deep, abiding passion regarding poetry.
It seems to date back to A Child's Garden of Verses and the Dr. Seuss titles of my youth, and at this time it's still going strong.
The point of that rabbit trail is this;
Jocelyn HATED poetry not that long ago. Yes, it's true. Hard as it can be to believe, it's the truth. I tried gently to lure her, subtly, you know, like by posting entire poems in her comment box.
So recently the GRANDER truth (the magic, genius, and logophiliac bliss of poetry) was revealed to her through a poet from her home state.
Jocelyn introduced Louis Jenkins initially on her blog and then very kindly sent me an autographed copy of his book North of the Cities, which just arrived.
Here is a little nibble to enjoy with me.
Is it true that this world, this life, is an illusion, all smoke and mirrors? It must be, because according to a recent poll, seventy percent of the American public believes that Ronald Reagan did a good job as president. And yet if life is only a figment, a feint, a construction of breath and vapor, then why is it a rock falls and smashes your toe and you go hopping around on one foot, mad with pain? Why, if you happen to look at a woman on the sidewalk and your car plows into the truch in front of you, are you dead and no longer allowed to play the game? It's an illusion, but a damn good one.
This may not seem like typical poetry, but it is good.
Here is what Mr. Jenkins said about poetry
"Poetry is always about using language. One tries to make the story, or whatever it is, vivid and meaningful, but to not be too apparent with linguistic tricks. Again, Dylan Thomas, he wrote a kind of poetry in which the sound of the language became almost more important than what was actually being said. That’s a way of writing, but its not my way of writing. Bart Sutter often writes formal verse, rhymed verse; that’s what he does, he’s good. But it’s not my way of writing. He makes the language do a certain thing, and I also make the language do a certain thing, but it’s a different thing. I try to make the poem as casual and everyday as it can be but to still have that surprise."
I think he does it very well.
Thank you, Jocelyn, for a truly wonderful gift that I will enjoy for years to come.
Oh, and welcome to the club.