Wednesday, July 07, 2021

No More Can Fit Into the Evening: An Anthology of Diverse Voices

No More Can Fit

Into the Evening

An Anthology of Diverse Voices

Edited by Standing Feather and Thomas Davis

Four Windows Press

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Copyright Four Winds Press 2020

368 pages, softbound, No Price Given

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

In this fine attempt to gather a anthology of diverse poetry, Thomas Davis and Standing Feather have achieved their goal. In addition to the two editors, thirty-seven more poets bring together a wide variety of poetry that appeals to a broad spectrum of tastes and styles.

One of these outstanding thirty-nine poets is Richard Brenneman who founded The Rimrock Poets Magazine when he was a student at Mesa College in Grand Junction, CO. He graduated from San Jose State University in California. He has been published in numerous magazines and now lives in Boston, MA where he is a participant in the greater Boston poetry scene.

In the introduction to his poetry the editors write, “The most interesting part of Brenneman’s work is that the poems of his old age seem to be getting stronger …”

Of his eight poems in the anthology three stand out for their candidness of his emotions. What is forbidden to him is perhaps not to others. He takes the courageous first steps toward what he believes might not be allowed but then hastily retreats. The first is “Thin Ice” which reflects Brenneman’s unwillingness to take chances.

Going on forbidden adventures,


yet full of expectation,

falling back in hesitation,

Like walking on the ice

of a pond on a sunny day:

is it thick enough?

Is it too thin?

Going slowly then,

hearing the crackle

beneath my feet,

running back to shore.

Wanting adventure,

Forbidden adventure –

Still, I can’t swim

“Library Tour” presents Brenneman in a lonely condition wishing for a relationship in which the allegory is library books he wants to check out but will not check him out. However, he will not be sad because of the lack of a someone, a statement that life goes on despite disappointments.

I will not be sad because

the ones I want to check out

will not check me out,

turn my pages, peruse at leisure

my depths, my heights, my dreams.

They speed-read my works,

demand orgasm, or total unity

in only a moment or two.

They want to plug into me,

and get instant computerized replay.

They overdemand, only


and I, I do the same,

because it’s such shallow reading,

touching the pages, smelling the ink,

caressing the volumes,

looking for love, deep love,

ownership perhaps,

look for new publications,

wisdom, beauty illumined with gold leaf

and lapis lazuli used liberally:

rare books, not portraits or yellow journalism.

I will not be sad because

the ones I want to check out

will not check me out

because I want to sit alone and dream awhile

as much as curl up like a contented cat

before a fire and purr away the night

like a touchstone, a talisman,

a warm embrace,

but usually that call number

is out on interlibrary loan!

These poems may reveal Brenneman’s cautious side and yet expose his intentions. To know him personally one realizes his is not a “hidden” person but with courage is out front about himself and what he seeks in life. In “Haunted” Brenneman escapes his past to find the his reality.

All the shadows that have haunted

the yesterdays of my mind

return, beckoning.

I start to look with some expectation

as the sunlight scatters the night aside,

but it is only strangers, shadows

from the past, ghostly presences

that disturb the balances of day to day

I flee such shadows for real

present laughter, lightness, joy,

Dizzy heights have balustrades

to hold me back from shadow streets

below, empty without memory,

for there are rarefied crests above

where sun gold reflects true hearts’ largesse.

Thomas Davis, co-editor, of this Anthology, has given readings at universities in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Davis is also an educator who has been a significant figure in the United States tribal colleges and universities movement and the indigenous higher education movement. Here is one of his poems about a woman entitled “A Lover’s Song.”

We strung along a priceless string of starts

And made the moon a pendant just for show.

I cut the night into a dress, the bars

Of moonlight setting stars and dress aglow.

You laughed with love deep in your doe-brown eyes.

You swirled the universe upon your him.

As dizzy as a lover filled with love’s first lies,

I watched your eye grow dazzled by your gems.

Then, with a shrug, your dress fell to the ground.

The night became a carpet at your feet.

Stars glistened in a heap, their skies cut down.

The moon gleamed silver-cold without your heat.

We swirled together deep into the night.

Our years illuminated, blazing light.

There are many excellent poems by fine poets in this volume that are worthwhile reading for their variety, style and use of language. And among the thirty-nine poets, Richard Brenneman is a star.


Zvi A. Sesling

Author, War Zones and The Lynching Of Leo FrankEditor,
Muddy River Poetry Review

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