Saturday, November 26, 2005

To order make check out to Mike James $6. Yellow Pepper Press POBOX 27010 Pittsburgh, PA 15235--

"" A.D. Winans

Wrestling With My Father, Doug Holder. 42 pages. Yellow Pepper Press, PO Box 27010, Pittsburgh, Pa 15235. $6

Most family poetry books more often than not focus on unhappy recollections of the author’s childhood, and the authors perspective of how the parents failed to live up to the poets expectations, so it was a welcome surprise to see Doug Holder present the other side of family upbringing.
In this small chapbook of poems Holder explores the roots and bond between a father and son. From Benson’s Deli With Dad:
Dad’s loving adornment
of his hotdog
a true work of abstract art–
a colorful phallus
of juice and savory meat.
From here we move on to the son observing an aging father at three in the morning:
he walks like the lonely
sentry he was
during the "War"
between bedroom and bathroom.
I no longer hear
a youthful stream
pierce the water
all is tentative
and a struggle,
and I barely
can contain my tears
when I see
his shrunken frame
hunched over
pressing out
what is left of
so late
in the
There is no bitterness in these poems, no disappointment, just a quiet reflection, which leaves the reader feeling like he were sitting in an old time country store in rural America listening to a wise elder spin tales of the old days.
No fancy, dressed-up academic imagery, just laying down the words on paper with a warm heart felt feeling.
Writing in a narrative voice Holder speaks with conviction about his family experiences from his first recollections of childhood to the present day. We almost feel as if we are there with him as we take a train ride that like all train rides must ultimately come to the end of the line.
in its lurid light
my gestures
are warped,
Each word
I write
engulfed, consumed.
The love
I feel
comically ephemeral.
But still in
this frightening
endless expanse,
I dance
It’s a waltz, not a fast dance. Embrace it, and you’ll hear the beat of the heart,
and the rhythm of the soul.
---- A. D. Winans

A. D. Winans was born in San Francisco and graduated from San Francisco State College (now University). He is the author of over 40 books of poetry and prose including North Beach Poems and The Holy Grail: The Charles Bukowski and Second Coming Revolution. From 1972 through 1989 he edited and published Second Coming Magazine/Press. He worked for the San Francisco Art Commission (1975-80), during which time he produced the Second Coming 1980 Poets and Music Festival, honoring the late poet Josephine Miles and the late blues musician John Lee Hooker. He has received numerous editor and publishing grants from the NEA and the California Arts Council, and writer assistance grants from PEN and the Academy of American Poets. In 1983 he was awarded a San Francisco Arts and Letters Foundation cash award for his contribution to small press literature.
His poetry, prose, essays and book reviews have appeared in over a thousand literary magazines and anthologies, including City Lights Journal, Poetry Australia, The American Poetry Review (APR) and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (Thunder’s Mouth Press). His poetry has been translated into Spanish, French, German, Japanese. Croatian, Polish and Russian. A song poem of his was performed in April 2002 at Tully Hall in New York City. His work has been praised by such noted poets and writers as Colin Wilson, Studs Terkel, James Purdy, Peter Coyote, and the late Charles Bukowski.
He is a member of PEN and has served on the Board of Directors of many arts organizations, including the now defunct Committee of Small Press Magazine Editors and Publishers (COSMEP). He is listed in Who’s Who in America, The International Directory of Who‚s Who in Poetry, The Gale Research Contemporary American Authors and the Gale Research Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series. His archives and those of Second Coming Magazine/Press are housed at Brown University.

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