Poet Spotlight: Todd Boss

I love poetry to sound different than prose.  I am drawn to sound play and patterns, unique phrasing, wonderful words.  When a poem is a kind of elevated prose with line breaks, I find myself losing interest.  But careful creative word craft draws me in and elevates my attention. I think this is why I am such a fan of Todd Boss's poetry.  Todd hails from Minnesota and is the author of two brilliant (in my humble opinion) volumes of poetry: Yellowrocket and Pitch (both from W.W. Norton).

The first Todd Boss poem I ever read was  Were I to Wring a Rag.  Here is how it begins:

Were I to wring a rag

--no matter how much

muscle I might have 

mustered--my mother

was like to come along

behind me, reach around

me to take it up again

from where I had left it...


And it goes on from there.  The sound of title was magnetic.  The play of muscle--mustered--mother captured my ear. He turns squeezing a dishrag into a sublime moment.  Not easy to do!

Here are some other short excerpts to give you a taste of Todd Boss' artistry:

The day is gray and the lake

shifts, mercurial,

like modeling clay,

the million thumbs

of wind at work upon it,

the artist unable to come

to a single conclusion.


Ere We Are Aware

we err. We err

                             in open air, dare-

devil as a swallow's

                            swerve. We err

with verve. Our errors serve

                            as bearings

as we flare and dive

                            and flounder...


Visit Todd's website at http://toddbosspoet.com/.  In addition to his poetry you will see that he creates public artwork and he started a venture called MotionPoems, an enterprise that combines video (usually animation) and poetry (see www.motionpoems.org).

Poet Spotlight: Rosemerry Whatola Trommer

It has been a joy to discover the poetry of Rosemerry Trommer.  She was featured as Rattle magazine's November Ekphrasis Winner (poetry responding to image) with her poem "Divining." It so struck my ear that I immediately wanted to read more of her work.  Read this poem at: http://www.rattle.com/poetry/divining-by-rosemerry-trommer/. 

To my delight the more I read and heard, the more I appreciated her knack for fresh exquisite ways of capturing life around her. Her language is accessible even as she stewards profound insights that rise up from keenly observing the everyday world.  She is playful and serious in a wonderful synergistic dance ("dancing" is a common reference in her work).  I am particularly drawn to her instinct for creating delicious sound and rhythmic patterns. She hails from rural Colorado and champions poetry in all sorts of contexts, from schools, workshops, monthly readings, to one one one mentoring.  Her website is www.wordwoman.com and her poetry blog is called A Hundred Falling Veils: www.ahundredfallingveils.com.  She has published multiple books and recorded CDs of her poems. Listening to her read her own work is a true delight.

Here are two poems of Rosemerry's that I share with her permission.  The first is from her CD Suitcase of Yeses entitled The Weightless Joy of Ash:

Brilliance gone, light extinct.

Ashes remember when they were trees.

How they greeted rain and sun

with green leaves; how a body

grows stout in dark soil.


We must study silence—

empty air where once leapt

sizzle, crack, and spark!

And then we see

ecstasy has many voices:


wild lick of flame,

warm embered orange.

Even grey weightless ash

dancing wantonly

in whatever wind it finds.  


And here is another lovely poem, also using the imagery of ash called Epistemology from her book The Less I Hold (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2012):


I knew myself a swirl of ash

swept briskly by the wind -

like wings without the weight of birds,

like kites without their strings.


And I, who have been dead, tonight

I know myself the moon

with rings around it in the dark.

And I the darkness, too.


But I am also not the dark,

not moon, not ash, not kite,

not anything that can be held,

something beyond the night.


I know myself a spilling thing,

a raveling, a leak.

Call it blessing, call it luck

the vessel as it breaks.