But when I met poet Ben Myers in Full Circle Bookstore recently for an interview, I realized there was another problem. I hadn't read his poetry. How can you write about a poet and never have read his poetry? So I ordered his new book, Lapse Americana, from Amazon. Myers, who teaches at OBU in Shawnee, is catching a lot of attention in the state and nation. As with all these poets I've talked to or heard about, he is a story by himself. But that's later.
I want to tell you about this new book of his, published by a New York publisher NYQ Books, which tells you his Oklahoma-based poetry transcends his subjects.
While he may be writing about his father's death--referred to in many poems, and who the book is dedicated to--, coffee, the analog world, divorce, tornadoes, Hamlet, or hauling hay, among these 70 poems in 116 pages, your imagination leaps at his imagery. It reminds me of some of those poems in The New Yorker, but they're easier to understand. His depth pushes you to think about life and savor words.
A sampling:His poetry is far deeper than our shallow rivers.
From Odin (About Alzheimer's)
"My friend is forgetting
me, his mind a tree blooming
with bagworms, the gloss slipping
from once green trees."
From French Press--
"And the empty cup waits
like folded hands."
From Hauling Hay--
"...from fuel shaved from the scowling
face of the prairie, ..."
From A Friend's Divorce--
"He's taken a scalpel to his brain,
gingerly slicing out matter...."
"The utility poles
were a row of broken teeth..."
And finally, my favorite--
is a fence line
through tall grass,
by a slightly different