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Powerful Poetry

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message 1: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Robinson The former Poet Laureate of Kansas, author Denise Low-Weso, was in Tampa for an author’s conference a couple of weeks ago. I scored a signed advance copy of her new book Shadow Light (Coming May, 1 2018.) , a unique collection of powerful poems that impacted me like a Master painting. Anyone who has wandered through institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Figge Museum in Davenport, Iowa, or Philadelphia Museum of Art has either watched or personally demonstrated the way an inanimate object of art can lure a human being into its depths. One minute you are strolling along with the crowd. Seconds later, almost without conscious thought, you are seated on a bench, staring deeply into a canvas, being carried beyond the grand room in which you are seated and into a world you didn’t even know existed.

Denise Low has this ability to grab you (with extraordinary succinctness!) and teach you how to see past the obvious, everyday scenery of what author Douglas Adams calls “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” I’ve always suspected that Adam’s chose that phrase to describe what some call “the Divine,” and I think Low is doing the same thing in Shadow Light. But, unlike the advice of our parents (“Pay attention!”) and coaches (“Focus people!”), she is suggesting more of a Navy-SEAL-on-night-ops approach: “Don’t look directly at the point of light you thought you saw.” (Only by looking away slightly can a soldier get an accurate fix on a dim object in the distance at night.)

Whether it’s deer in the darkness, blue birds at the river, or summer solstice in a shadowy birch forest, Denise Low is always urging the reader to see beyond and between. It is neither the man nor the wild plums the poet points us to in “Where the Dead Go.” It is what the great pianists call “the silence between the notes” when Low writes:

Snow pedals ghost
the northern wind.

Among wild plums
My father’s face kites

In wickerwork limbs
Gray-eyed, trapped.

Shadow Light is a subtle and satisfying guide to Spirit and Native American tradition, a cunning version of verbalized 3-D glasses that magically illuminate the soul and the substance behind the obvious and functional aspects of everyday life as we know it. By the time you get to “Wakarusa Medicine Wheel,” you will find yourself standing on holy ground, and when you turn the final page and read “Stomp Dance, Wyandotte County,” you will hear the drums and feel that ground under your own dancing feet.

message 2: by Jan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Kevin, thank you so much for this insightful review! You see layers I hoped might be there but could not see myself.

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