Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Accidental Navigator :New and Selected Poems and a Story by Henry Denander

The Accidental Navigator
New and Selected Poems and a Story
Henry Denander
Lummox Press 2011
ISBN 978-929878-88-8

The Poems in, The Accidental Navigator, are conversations with
the reader and each verse suggests a complete understanding as to
the nature of silence in people, place and objects. Denander
speaks to us with a quiet voice that only someone who lives with
himself, can write. We are attached to every word because the poems
are ours. They are a universal plea, greeting, peaceful humor that makes
for serenity and Denander is a master at making the reader comfortable
with all that life offers and takes and causes:

“i have read quite a few poems by
this American poet, I like them all
and especially the way he ends
his narrative poems without a tag
and an obvious ending.
Everything's just hanging in the air
for you to catch.

I will try to do the same and close one of
my prose poems without
my usual tag line.

Maybe in my next poem.”

The tag lines are full of laughter and we catch the irony or the astute

“while changing planes in Vienna
I took my son to the Men's room
and he asked me about the condom
dispenser on the wall.

“i don't know, maybe it's soap or
something,” I said.

I didn't feel the time and the place
was right for going through these
matters with my eight year old son.

“No, it's not soap,” he said, “and it
says LOVE on them.”

We had to rush to the plane and he
dropped his investigation.

Soon I will have to explain these
matters for him, though.

But if he knows about LOVE
already, maybe it will be easy to
explain the rest.”

The book is a compilation of new poems, with a smidgen of older poems,
and the short story is all that the poems are and more:

“The next morning I am early for my meeting with Despina
Aspro. The sun isn't hot yet and there is a nice breeze. I see her
coming from the far end of the port, heading straight at me in
her bare feet on the old stones. She is a beautiful Greek woman,
maybe in her early twenties, with long dark hair and beautiful
clear blue eyes. She moves like she is completely unaware of
her looks, unconscious of how the thin cotton dress shows her
beautiful young body...”

What a delight; reading this book is a pleasure, it is a walk at low tide,
finding clear pebbles, the rush of tide, the blue sky, children playing;
people meander along the shore, enjoying the day. It is Sunday after
church, or after a large family breakfast, or an early nap on a lounge
chair. What a relief; a book I can love.

“She kisses me on both cheeks in the typical Greek way when we
introduce ourselves. She looks like a Greek Princess. I wonder how
she could have known it was me?”

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor:
Wilderness Literary Review

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