Selected Poems

Vern Rutsala, Author Story Line Press $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-934257-61-9
Rutsala ( Ruined Cities ) is obsessed with the past. In many of the poems in this uncompromising, introspective collection, he takes us through former dwellings and landscapes where we see the decayed remnants of once-vital lives. In ``The Shack Outside Boise,'' the poet pokes around piles of junk and perceives ``the sadness they call possessions, / the helpless objects . . . brought with great effort-- / old generators, bald tires, / a trunk full of mildew.'' In ``The New Life,'' the passing years pulverize our lives into dust: ``This is all you have-- / hard substance / ground to powder. . . . Your own life too / like ash sucked up the chimney.'' With starkly evocativeok? aa/yes/pk imagery, in ``The Icecold Freight'' the poet takes us back to the time he and his father built a house together in a desolate neighborhood. Although times were tough, Rutsala was so moved by having created something concrete and lasting that he returns often to the theme of the home as a container of the evanescence of human existence. He is unsentimental, examining the ghostliness of his past with a sad but brave persistence, fashioning poems that are haunting for their painful honesty. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-934257-52-7
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