Sunday, November 29, 2015



There Are Words by Burt Kimmelman
(Dos Madres Press, Loveland, OH, 2007)

I have learned to rely on Burt Kimmelman’s poems—or many of them—whenever the world gets too much and I need a stillness into which I may relax and, for a blessed moment, just be still.  That’s perhaps a way of saying I discover a welcome quietness in many of Kimmelman’s poems, such as the ones in his chapbook collection, There Are Words.  Here’s the opening poem:

Monet’s Garden

The lily’s charm is not
its colors but how it
floats, as if free, upon

the pond’s dark surface. We
make our way over his

wooden bridge and then pass
the shrubs and flowers he
planted, arranged just so

to paint. How carefully
the pigment would be placed,

how gradually the world—
its daily businesses—
would become still and deep.

I cite the first poem because from reading its first line to its last line, I become quieted.  And calmed in a way that also make me more responsive to the rest of the collection’s poems.  And, yes, the rest of the poems are as “still” and “deep” as the first, as facilitated by how many present the varied facets of light and associated qualities thereof.  For instance, this excerpt is from the moving “Susan Sontag Has Died”

The body, the
body fails, at

last disappears
—yet we keep on

talking. A light
streams across the

table, its cups,
saucers and spoons,

these the remains
of a good life.

Here’s another example, an excerpt from “Lido Cristoforo Columba”

…children who stumble out

of the waves, as if they have
lost their way in the heat. We

lie still in the bright light and
somehow remember the bells.

The paradox, of course, is that this sense of quietude would not be possible without words.  Herein lies the poet’s mastery, how his poetry encourages the silence of rumination because of love, as in “After Robert Creeley”: “…there // are words, words, / which we love” that continues on to “… let / us embrace / them – because // we would hold / each other.” 

It’s a gift of a peaceful experience to read/experience these poems, metaphorically summarized by the last stanza of “The Coming Snow” as regards white light:

one can witness the
graceful descent of
white, its delicate
curtain covering
the world in silence.


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor (the exception would be books that focus on other poets as well).  She is pleased, though, to point you elsewhere to recent reviews of her work.  I FORGOT LIGHT BURNS received a review by Zvi A. Sesling at Boston Area Small Press & Poetry Scene; by Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp over HERE; and by Allen Bramhall in Tributary.  Her experimental biography AGAINST MISANTHROPY: A LIFE IN POETRY received a review by Tom Hibbard in The Halo-Halo Review, Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web and Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source. SUN STIGMATA also received a review by Edric Mesmer at Yellow Field.  Recent releases are the e-chap DUENDE IN THE ALLEYS as well as INVENT(ST)ORY which is her second “Selected Poems" project; while her first Selected THE THORN ROSARY was focused on the prose poem form, INVEN(ST)ORY focuses on the list or catalog poem form.  A key poem in INVENT(ST)ORY was reviewed by John Bloomberg-Rissman in The Halo-Halo Review, and the book itself was reviewed by Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source and Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web.  More information at 

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