Spring has brought some nice news for me. Last week I told you that fellow poets and bloggers, Dave Bonta and Kristin Berkey-Abbott, would be blogging about four different poetry books throughout April, one per week, and that Temptation by Water would be the week of April 4. Dave did his "live blog" yesterday. That term can be both a noun and a verb. What does it mean? It apparently means that the blogger will simultaneously read the poems and post about them to his or her blog. The benefit of such an approach is that the responses are very immediate, spontaneous. As you read the post, you feel that you are watching Dave read and react. You almost imagine facial expressions. It's very exciting to read the responses, but, for the poet, a bit frightening as well. What if Dave hits a poem he hates? But, thankfully, he didn't. In fact, he gave my book a very thorough and generous reading.
Dave devoted a good part of his day to the book. He indicated time so the reader can see that he read the book in three sittings, beginning early morning and going into evening. As he read, he also made observations about what was going on outside his porch—and sometimes drew connections between his observations and the poems.
Here's a snippet of Dave's post:
Next up is “My Mother Turns Her Back.” Wow, I like this one! “The snake on my mother’s / back thickens, a python/ bulging with rats.”
Is that a flicker calling from the corner of the field? Sure sounds like it.
The heat effect from my morning shower has almost entirely worn off, and the cold and damp are beginning to get to me. But listen: “I watch my mother // grow down, as if she carries / a burden of basket, as if / already greeting the earth.” Simply a magnificent poem.
2:45 p.m. Well, it’s up to 56 degrees. I’ll take it! One rain shower just past, the air smells of ozone and wet soil. Two, or possibly three, wood frogs are quacking in the teacup-sized pond down in the boggy corner of the field.
“If Only Humpty Dumpty Had Been a Cookie”: I’m not even that crazy about cookies, but this poem has me salivating. Damn.
And then there’s “Learning to Live Alone,” something I know a little about. “Trees that capitulate to nothing, // and speckled sparrows that light on the lawn.” Yep, companionship is where you find it. (Helps to be drunk, though. Then every beetle is like a brother.)
A chipmunk’s alarm call. The sun won’t quite come out.
You can read the entire Live Blog here.
Dave, by the way, is the creator and editor of qarrtsiluni, an innovative online journal. He is doing all kinds of amazing tech things to find new ways to get poetry out into the world. Check out his poetry video anthology, Moving Poems.
Then my book has also recently had two very nice reviews. One appears in Verse Wisconsin and is by Moira Richards who lives in South Africa. Here's a snippet: "The poetry in the collection, like the currents of the sea, pulls the reader one way and then another; first we’re tugged towards gusty desires, greedy indulgences, and next we’re pulled up against reminders of broken dreams and the emptiness of loss."
Read the entire review Here.
Then since good things come in threes, along came another review, this one by Sally Rosen Kindred for Connotation Press. Here's a snippet: "It’s hard not to open Diane Lockward’s fourth poetry book, Temptation by Water, without the feeling of wading in, wondering if the water’s warm. The wave cresting over the supine profile on the cover promises something that the book delivers: a submersion that is as complete as it is deliciously complicated. These poems play across the tender spectrum of temptation, from the pleasures of birds 'looping and soaring, cradled by air,' and 'a bowl of mushroom barley soup to slurp' and 'the sea/ like liquid emeralds,' to 'the hard shell” of grief.'"
Read the entire review Here.
As if all that weren't enough, Rattle featured a poem of mine from way back in 2001. I know that makes four good things. As I said, it's been a good spring so far. Check out The Study of Nature.