Dale Jr.'s Reviews > A Wonderment of Seasons

A Wonderment of Seasons by John E. McGuigan
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's review
Nov 19, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry, 5-star, favorites

Earlier in the year, I had the pleasure of seeing John McGuigan read in Scranton, PA at Prose in Pubs, a local event orchestrated by my good friend and fellow writer, Amye Archer. All I really need to say about that night is that John managed to bring tears to my eyes with his poem "My Raincoat".

A Wonderment of Seasons is perfectly beautiful with tender memories of family, fleeting and lost love, and a young man's first experience seeing a stripper. The words and verses composed between the covers of this collection walk along with you down city streets. They take sips of warming, Irish whiskey. They are a journey.

Little Boy Traveling

In Oneonta there is a street
named EXIT
and it doesn't go anywhere.
It's only three doors long.
in Scranton there is a street
named LOVE
and it's rough, and unpaved, and a construction
company has a building and other things
on that road.
I never saw anyone walking on it.
That's all.

John doesn't write to impress intellectuals. He doesn't write sprawling verses of obscure references or use $50 words. John uses the right words. He uses the honest words. There's no need for embellishment in his work.

Maybe his honesty comes from his deep, Irish identity. You can see that, through his life, he has been influenced by traditional Irish poetry even though his own work is not. The same ink-laced blood which flowed through the veins of Yeats is found in John McGuigan.

From coal regions I came
sailing backwards on an antique dream,
hoping to find part of a beginning--
something I am or was. I know not.

Words were just formalities
as we sat over late coffee
in the Paradiso,
and the distances and seas
were but moments.

~from "To M.P. Dublin: the first time"

Since the first time I've heard John read, I've had the chance to share a whiskey or two with him. To converse about words and poetry. He's become, admittedly, someone who I look up to as a writer. As an honest and incredible person.

John gifted me a copy of A Wonderment of Seasons about a week ago. I had no words for him then except a humble thank you. It wasn't enough for this gift. This book has quickly become one of my most precious and prized possessions.

My happiness is measured out in moments
minute flashes,
gone as quickly as they come.
At first it used to hurt some,
but reality becomes eventuality
and times remembered precious.
Days and nights are seen
only by the clocks
that hang in towers.
My life knows no hours,
only minutes looking for a mind
to remember them...
~from "By Design"

Today is John's, known as Jack around Scranton to friends and family, 72nd birthday. He has given this world an wonderful gift. I don't know that anything I could ever give him would be equal to this book. I only hope that, by spreading the word about him, more will read his beautiful words.

The book my be difficult to track down. It may be impossible for some and that is more unfortunate than I want to admit. However, you can find a copy of his book Part of a Geography from Paper Kite Press here.

John McGuigan reading "My Raincoat" @ Prose in Pubs

The only copy of A Wonderment of Seasons on Amazon I could find


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Reading Progress

November 19, 2012 – Started Reading
November 19, 2012 – Shelved as: poetry
November 19, 2012 – Shelved
November 19, 2012 –
page 17
November 19, 2012 –
page 34
November 19, 2012 –
page 52
November 27, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites
November 27, 2012 –
page 69
November 27, 2012 – Shelved as: 5-star
November 27, 2012 – Finished Reading

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