Monday, May 07, 2012

Just Beautiful by Tim Suermondt

Just Beautiful
by Tim Suermondt
NYQ Books
New York, NY
Softbound, 105 pages, $14.95

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Bittersweet humor should be kept in a poet’s back pocket or purse and pulled out whenever necessary. In this new volume of Tim Suermondt’s poetry there is the bittersweet and the humor and sometimes a combination of both. Take for example
the following poem.

Winning the Pulitzer

Don’t laugh.
I have the chops.
I have the poems.
If I can outlast
the academic mumbo jumbo
I’ll have a legitimate shot,
a puncher’s chance.

At the awards ceremony
I’ll thank everyone
who helped me, give the Bronx cheer
to everyone who never did

and return to my study to write the next poem
like I always have and wanted to
oh those many years in the wilderness.

As you read his poems you might think, “Light, fluffy.”  But a second reading reveals a deeper context to the poems that deal with everyday life, jealousy, love, fame, and almost always, humor. 

Looking Forward Boldly

Almost all my friends
have become blackbirds.
            --Eugen Jebeleanu

A few will become hawks and eagles –
the one who owes me money will become

a buzzard if he doesn’t pay—standard
punishment. I expect my wife and I will

become kingfishers, diving I the deep waters,
we and hungry every day, pecking ourselves

clean on the most beautiful beaches.

The three parts of the book you can see Suermondt moving, that is, motion is as important as humor and beauty.  And that is what Just Beautiful is really about: the everyday beauty of life, of people, of living. But what I like most is his easy slide-it-in-there sense of humor that leaves you saying to yourself, “Oh, that’s good.”   Perhaps you have a silent chuckle, reread the poem and move on. That is what it is all about, past, present and future and the final poem, The Present and the Future, tells you what you have thinking all along.

 Suermondt has published two chapbooks and with this volume, two full length collections of poems.  He has been published in numerous magazines and journals, as well as online. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, poet Pui Ying Wong.

Zvi A. Sesling is author of King of the Jungle (Ibbetson Street, 2010), Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva, 2011) and the soon to be published Fire Tongue (Cervena Barva). He is Editor of Muddy River Poetry Review and Bagel Bards Anthology #7.

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