Saturday, August 3, 2013

Larry Colker's Amnesia and Wings

O misbegotten fool
in pool of inklings
things cannot be clear... - “Lyric”/Amnesia and Wings

Above is a gorgeous snippet of poetry from Larry Colker’s debut collection, Amnesia and Wings (© 2013 Tebot Bach Press). Most first collections are heavily laden with verse. To be honest, this handicap can turn off a reader to a poet’s future work. The opposite is true with Colker’s collection: 32 poems bound into one slim volume - which, in point of fact, turns out to be the perfect amount of poetry.

Colker, a careful bard, writes with the artful restraint of a man who's lived most of his life walking a fine line between the mundane and waking worlds. Like an alchemist, Colker has distilled his life experiences (mostly about love, and up to this point), into a series of beautifully written poems that are a genuine pleasure for the reader in which to immerse herself. Colker’s not afraid of linguistic gymnastics; quite a few of his poems could be put down to workshop exercises, but a touch of self-deprecating humor saves the day, as in the piece “Lunch Poem”:

Today I’m eating Brazilian,
three kinds of meat on a

Big knife!

The woman I nearly started an affair with
was - is -

Big knife!

She tasted like this fried banana,
sugary, fragrant, yielding,

Big knife!

I tried to give my marriage another chance;
kissed artistic, sexy, portugues-inflected Amalia

Big knife!

While the theme of love dominates Amnesia and Wings, Colker also explores other avenues; family (“Projector”), mythical archetypes (“Eros in the Heartland,” “Legend”), and the growing sense of one’s own morality (“China,” “Crossing Over (Exhibit #204)”). Though Colker is careful, he's not sparing of himself or his subjects. Each poem is bracketed by the conviction of a man who has no qualms in sharing and accepting the variegated, truthful totality of a fascinating and well-lived life. Few contemporary poets are capable of making that commitment to themselves or to their work.

Amnesia and Wings deserves a place on every poet’s bookshelf.

Amnesia and Wings,  © 2013 Larry Colker, Tebot Bach Press, ISBN 978-1-893670-6-31, 45 pages, $16.

Article content © 2013 marie lecrivain
poetic content © 2013 Larry Colker