Thursday, April 26, 2007

National Poetry Month Recommendation: Bill Holm

Here's another for today. Bill Holm is a Minnesota poet. I dig him. (Of the three books that come up when you search our stock, only Playing the Black Piano and Eccentric Islands are the Bill Holm being recommended here. The other Bill Holm is good, too.)

He writes confidently about music, art, life's tragedy and promise—and he can be pretty funny, too.

Here's the opening stanza of "Playing Hadyn for the Angel of Death":

The piano tells things to your hands
you never let yourself hear from others:
Calm down, do your work, laugh,
love reason more, your mask less.
God exists, though not as church said.
To understand this language, you must
sometimes patiently play the same
piece over and over for years, then
when you expect nothing, the music
lets go its wisdom.

And this from "My Old Friend AT&T Writes Me A Personal Letter":

"Dear Mr. Holm,
Post office box one-eighty-seven may
be a terrific place to live, but for you—
it's more than just a home.
It's also a place to do serious business..."
Dear Company,
How well you understand
my needs—my life—
how every night we light
tiny candles to dine
on a roast sparrow (nowhere
for leftovers, you know),
drink a small young burgundy
(no space here for a wine to grow
old and big) then lie down
on our narrow bed for a little love.

Both of these poems are in Playing the Black Piano.

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