Monday, October 26, 2020

My Favorite Blurb Ever! Thanks Judson Evans!

While many people have shared compliments and blurbs about my newest poetry collection The Collapsed Bookshelf, poetic colleague Judson Evans not only generously complimented my book, he also put it in the context of the work I've done this year on this blog and elsewhere. 

In a time when everyone is trying to stay afloat on top of hopefully preserving some shred of democracy for 2021, I expect much of what I post anywhere at any moment to be largely ignored. So when I find out that anyone has been paying attention to what I've been doing, I am doubly grateful. 

In the case of Judson's words, I am quintuply grateful.

My publisher has already posted an edited version of the blurb below on my book's Amazon page. I post the full version here less to toot my own horn and more to thank Judson for the kindest of kind words for me I've read this year.

But if what he wrote below influences you at all to buy my book and leave a review on the page, that would be great too.

Chad Parenteau's The Collapsed Bookshelf hits its stride in pithy one liners “You fail in language/ only if you fall in love with it”; “There's no postmodern/ just the attempt/ to be post-you” ;“We are cars speeding through/ an E-Z Pass without the pass...” ;“In death all truths are unpronounceable.” Parenteau has earned these tightly turned truths in close-to-the-ground observation and the deep listening signaled by the book's epigraph from the author's grandfather about “staying quiet in a room where everyone else is talking.” For many years Parenteau has been the patient, whimsical master of ceremonies in that room – Stone Soup Poetry Series. From that perch he takes the pulse of our moment and brings both a Walter Mitty everyman stance and exasperated sarcasm to Trumpian America. His deft wit and dark New England humor remind me of that famous local gravestone: “I Told You I Was Sick”. 

Readers of Indolent Press's daily What Rough Beast series will be familiar with Parenteau's concise cut to the jugular in his recent "American Haiku" and "Resistance Tanka." Here, his range widens into broader observation and a tone that moves toward a gritty precision, underplayed emotion, and quiet whimsy: “It's only when you stop crying/ that the silverfish crawl/ back into the tub drain... dreaming of turning into/ real fish in what moonlight comes/ through the window (“Dressing Down”) or into the elegiac mode: “some underlined eulogy/ waiting to fit in the back/ of a wallet … We pray to be passed down/ lie a recipe,/ even our families too afraid/ to change anything about us.” (“Through”) But the poems return again and again to a lightness and whistle-past-the-graveyard humor as a way of living through and writing through this moment of national damage: “But what else? You learned to read/ without reading to learn...”

--Judson Evans

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