Tuesday, November 4, 2008

August 2008 page 3

A Review: John Yamrus

By Casey Quinn Aug 10th, 2008

Novices or indifferent readers to poetry tend to hear the word poetry and think "Oh Captain, My Captain." They think of the classical works of Robert Frost and Emily Dickenson and the English classes they were forced to sit through and study in their youths. The words were read and lost in translation on most as they were from a different time and held no real meaning to the current audience. John has found a way to bridge the gap. To bring poetry to a new audience by saying what is on his mind as straightforward and direct as he can.

We live in a time where people want, what they want, ten minutes ago and do not have the patience to sit and read anything longer then the bathroom takes. In a world of quick satisfaction, John Yamrus delivers to his reader's short and sweet poetry that tells stories large in scope but short in words.

Yamrus has an uncontrollable urge to say what is on his mind and bless his wife for putting up with him as I can only expect his need to speak the truth does not stop in his writing. His words are clear and to the point. He does not write fluff nor does he leave out anything required. He is the king of the simple and the most economical poet I have ever read.

In reading his last three books, 'Blue Collar','Shoot The Moon' and 'One Step at a Time' you can tell he has strong opinions on certain subjects. John is fighting the norm. His work is untraditional and as such has to deal with the lack of recognition that any maverick is faced with. His work has stand out qualities:

1. His sentences tend to break when you would not normally expect them to yet they read perfect.
2. He has an obsession for the lower case.
3. His poems read like a conversation you would hear between friends. Always written with common language you would expect to find between buddies having a chat over beers.
4. Some poems while at first glance can be taken for face value tend to have deeper meanings but it takes getting to know his other work to understand them more.
5. The more you read his work, the more you value what he has to say.

Now that I have said all of that you are wondering, what the heck can that look like? Well, here is a sample from his book 'Shoot The Moon' as a dog lover I had to select this one for my sample!

my old dog's gone deaf

my old dog's gone deaf

it happened
practically overnight.

the vet says
it sometimes
happens that way.

she's not
in any pain
and it doesn't
seem to bother her.

her behavior
hasn't changed

and besides ...
she never really
listened to us

the same as before,
when she's out in the yard
and I call her to come in,
she just sits there
and stares at me.

same as before.
i guess I even forget
that she can't hear me.

so, I open the door
and call

and she sits
and stares.

old habits
die hard.

i'm just glad
old dogs
do, too.

As you read you can tell he is just talking through his words. Saying what is on his mind at that time. Most people will agree that life is stranger than fiction and that is what John is counting on. He writes about day to day life that has qualities anybody looking for a great read can relate to. If you never thought yourself a poetry person try one of these books. If you are a lover of poetry already then expand your mind and accept the skill and craft that Yamrus brings with each volume he releases.

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Casey Quinn
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Ana Stjelja
Thiery Tillier
Paul A. Toth
C. Derick Varn
Rodrigo Verdugo
Teresa White
Sharon Boyle-Woods
Anne Harding Woodworth
John Yamrus
Changming Yuan