Monday, October 10, 2005

Doug Holder

"Wrestling With My Father"
A Poetry Collection
by Doug Holder

Praise for "Wrestling With My Father"

"In Doug Holder's New Collection, Wrestling With My Father in the Nude digs deep into familial roots, tracing history and blood lines with tenderness and truth. In lean verse, he head straight for difficult content, the clash of cultures, the silences between men, the silenced women, dreams and losses. He holds all these close, preserving what has past and seeing clearly what remains. Holder's metaphors rise so organically from the content... "the bridge to the Bronx/ a spurt of connective tissue/" or "Rows/of ancient Jewish mothers/ like angry crustaceans, perched on lawn chairs/... that they grab you viscerally, draw you in, shake you up, and set your down enriched and satisfied.Go get this book, take it home, savor it."
by CD Collins ( Winner of a Cambridge Poetry Award and member of the "St. Botolph Club"

Foundation Board)"These keys open upon the tabernacles of memory where words as kisses act as resurrection and their poetry engages the forgotten smell of fathers and those lost worlds of words in which they live and still speak."Michael Basinski ( Curator of the Rare Books and Poetry collection at the University of Buffalo.)

----- Wrestling With My Father by Doug Holder. Hugh Fox reacts. " I never cry at films, reading anything, “real” life doesn’t touch me....but reading Wrestling With My Father in the Nude, just a few pages into it, and it really got to me, tears in my eyes, deep emotions. He pushes all the real-world buttons here. Him and New York, the old Jews, old stores on old streets, meeting old pals, Marx Brothers movies, fedoras at rakish angles, ball parks, elevated tracks, hot dogs...he gets all the right, evocative, reality-evoking details, like his mother’s jaw cracking as she (now a widow) has dinner alone, his father’s photo on the refrigerator door “held tenuously/by a cheap magnet.” (“Portrait of My Mother During her Solitary Meal.”) We’re surrounded by all this wealth and run-over of reality, but what Holder has done here is to get the key details that resurrect it all, bring it all back. I felt I was living my own life all over again, and the night after I read Wrestling With My Father in the Nude I stretched out in bed and started thinking about dead friends, dead grandmothers, dead parents and all the streets and stores, the whole ambience of Chicago that somehow merged in my mind with Holder’s Bronx and came back to painfully haunt me: “Which man will know me/from my birth as a bald bawling baby to a balding middle aged man?....Who will make impossibly corny jokes/and impossibly dry Martinis/in front of a fire/on a long winter/Sunday afternoon? //Yes he is dead. And I will miss him./And I will remember/and mark/his passage,/because there will never/be someone quite/like him/who will cross/this stage again.” (“Which Man Will Know Me Now.”)"Hugh Fox, 2005. ( Founding editor of the Pushcart Prize, and founding member of the Committee of Small Magazine Editors/Publishers)

"With words carefully etched into the touchstone of a father’s love, Holder looks back to directly grasp, sans sentimentality, the struggle of men to be fathers and sons. In lines that are spare and piercing, like the thin rays of truth that linger long after the weighing of successes and failures in the lives of men, Holder evokes his father, resurrects him, not as whole phantasm but as whole human, alive in the bonds of trust generated by a son’s love. "

(Afaa M. Weaver is a professor of English Literature at Simmons College in Boston)

There is a universality in his verse and in the pervasive emotional tug of war that Holder threads
neatly throughout this collection; and ,ultimately, the bitter-sweet bonding that occurs when
we all finally discover our fathers. Kudos for this grand effort that makes us wish that we were the authors of these poems.

Harris Gardner/ Tapestry of Voices (Author : LEST THEY BECOME)

Douglas Holder's poetry is strongest when it is reminiscentof days gone by. In "Wrestling With My Father in TheNude", Holder, through the eyes of boyhood, pays homage tothe father of his past. Through the eyes of the present,he is able to look at mortality of father and son. Hispoetry covers the internal, external and if possible, themolecules of life of one man, while giving us the panorama of two.

( Tim Gager-- Founder of the "Dire Series" and cofounder of the "Heat City Review.") Holder has struck a nerve and a chord in constructing a potent, forceful memorial to his father.

"Wrestling With My Father" can now be purchased from the "Ibbetson Street Press," for 6 dollars--post paid.

Ibbetson St. Press
25 School St.
Somerville, Ma.


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