John Yamrus has been a fixture in American poetry for four decades. Since 1970 he has
published 2 novels, 17 volumes of poetry and more than 900 poems in magazines around the
world. Selections of his poetry have been translated into several languages including
Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Japanese and (most recently) Romanian. His newest book is SHOOT
THE MOON and is now available online at amazon.com should you like to obtain a copy.
A review by Bernard Alain
The works of John Yamrus have a clear definition in contemporary poetry, successfully dodging other genres while peeling back the rind of an American lifestyle. Engaging readers with down to earth wit, he delivers a style noted for it's compactness, minimal use of device and sense of timing. It is intuitive conversational text exposing the ins and outs of day-to-day experiences in both his home life and literary endeavors.
SHOOT THE MOON has proven to be no exception in John's meanderings as a poet. The book, edited by himself, is earmarked with all the classic Yamrus traits. The poems are not titled providing a continuation of the main theme, hedging sometimes on the satirical, amplifying the mundane, reveling in conceit.
I recently received a signed copy from John, on the inside lip he wrote:
to Bernard Alain---
I hope you enjoy these half-truths and outright lies of mine
A half-truth in itself and openly a prelude to the techniques John deploys in his writing to capture a reader's attention, noted for his ability to zoom in on simple details, toy with expectations and deliver a sometimes unique twist.
Below is an excerpt from one of the poems in SHOOT THE MOON demonstrating his intuitive dialog and sense of timing:
she asked me what i did for a living...
i told her
and then she says:
"how about fun?"
"what do you do for fun
when you're not working?"
and i say "you're gonna laugh..."
"nah, i never laugh unless i have to.
what do you really do?"
"i write books."
what's in them?"
"not much," i say ...
"half-truths and broken dreams."
Some of poetry in this edition focuses on the experiences of a poet trapped in the vestige of his mentors, among critics and wannabees of an overly prolific and sometimes misguided poetry community. Having been around, John is quick to separate the mice from the men and does so with the precision of a night owl ferreting out the limp legs of a grassy meadow. Over the years John has shared the limelight with prominent names in contemporary poetry, the references in this work to Bukowski and others are significant not only in the way he has been influenced, but also by association.
Although in this book I find John becomes the poet's poet, at times touching on issues more relevant to writers, it is consistent with the notion expressed in the title and embodies the contemporary experience merging the observations of a modern day poet with day-to-day life.
The collection is a good value and a recommended reading, quality poetry from beginning to end.
Ivan Donn Carswell
Dana A. Campbell
James H Duncan
Milton P. Ehrlich
Dr. Kane X. Faucher
John C. Goodman
Oritsegbemi Emmanuel Jakpa
Ruth Â Ellen Kocher
Dimitris P. Kraniotis
Louis K. Lowy
Elaine Rosenberg Miller
Nicoletta A. Poulakida
Bobby Slais (R Jay)
Paul A. Toth
C. Derick Varn
Anne Harding Woodworth