Thursday, May 18, 2006

Eric Greinke

Up North. Harry Smith. Eric Greinke. ( Presa S Press ) $6

Presa Press has released a chapbook of poetry by Harry Smith and Eric Greinke. Harry Smith is well-known in small press circles as publisher of "The Smith," and a founding member of COSMEP, ( a seminal small press organization). Eric Greinke was the publisher of "Pilot Press Books" in the 70's, and recently founded the Presa Press. Both Smith and Greinke choose the territory of northern/rural/wilderness environs to set their poems. In Smith's case it is Maine, and in Greinke's Northern Michigan. Being a dyed-in-the wool city boy, with a need for the smell of asphalt to keep me honest, I approached the work with trepidation. But these two poets welcome the inspiration, respite and solace the hinterlands seem to offer. In Smith's poem "Paths." the reader gleans something about the journey of life from a wilderness trail:

" When I was young, I made my paths...
I saw my paths as metaphors
for all my art and thought, and now
the forest and the bog reclaim my toil
I keep no trails; I blunder on
through thickets green beyond conclusion."

Greinke's poem "Green Wood," is sort of a "This Old House Poem." The house at first is made from unformed green wood, and later becomes something more solid. In this poem we learn about the life of a house, but more importantly the man:

"The wood was swollen,
Heavy and green
Sap bubbled
Around the spikes
As I drove them in.

I burned through
Two sabre-saws
cured through
The wet, green wood.
A year later
When it cleared,
It was so hard & dark
That no nail could penetrate."

Hey... if you ain't out of the woods yet, you will be well-served by these two trail blazing poets.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update

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