Tuesday, November 4, 2008

December 2007 page 3


by John Yamrus
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
John Yamrus

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.
The Cartier Street Review

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Gale Acuff
Anatholie Alain
Bernard Alain
RD Armstrong
George Anderson
Michael Annis
Meme Arte
Kush Arora
Sofiul Azam
Dunstan Attard
CL Bledsoe
Lancillotto Bellini
Dave Besseling
Dianne Borsenik
Janice Brabaw
Bettina Burch
John Burroughs
Alex Bustillo
David Cheezem
Tasha Cotter
Ivan Donn Carswell
Sarah Cabrera
Dana A. Campbell
Brenda Cook
Don Coorough
Jeff Crouch
Aleathia Drehmer
James H Duncan
Demetrius Daniel
Tatjana Debeljacki
Michael Dickel 
Nabina Das
Janice Dayton
Renee Dwyer
Stephanie Edwards
Milton P. Ehrlich
AnnMarie Eldon
Dr. Kane X. Faucher
Adam Fieled
Emad Fouad
Tiziano Fratus
John C. Goodman
Joseph Goosey
Willow Gray
Will Hames
Nick Harris
Stu Hatton
Shell Heller
Kyle Hemmings
Charles Hice
Thomas Hubbard
Oritsegbemi Emmanuel Jakpa
Marco Kaufman
Penn Kemp
Ruth  Ellen Kocher
Engin Korkmaz
Dimitris P. Kraniotis
Yahia Lababidi
Chris Labrenz
Jackson Lassiter
Joy Leftow
Heller Levinson
Ira Lightman
Louis K. Lowy
Ross McCague
Stephen Murray
Carl Palmer
Helen Peterson
Kate Peterson 
Elaine Rosenberg Miller
Carolyn Srygley-Moore
Todd Moore
Steve Nash
Paul Niziol
Valery Oisteanu
Charles Potts
Nicoletta A. Poulakida
Casey Quinn
Barbara Reiher-Meyers
Randall Radic
Sadiq Rahman
Dibyajyoti Sarma
Don Schaeffer
Bobby Slais (R Jay)
Patricia Smith
Ruth Spalding
Edward Sobanski
Tanuj Solanki
Don Stabler
Ana Stjelja
Thiery Tillier
Paul A. Toth
C. Derick Varn
Rodrigo Verdugo
Teresa White
Sharon Boyle-Woods
Anne Harding Woodworth
John Yamrus
Changming Yuan