Friday, March 27, 2009

Praise for Chatter in the Canopy

I loved this work.

Jeff Roberts has a unique mind - gorgeously precise and filled with whimsy. I smiled my way through many poems, but Roberts doesn't back away from darkness for a second. He is fiercely observant, honest and keenly sensitive, without self-pity. With an arsenal of craft at his call, he never abuses it. There is wonderful absurdity and wit in his work.

Roberts' poem The Boatman is an instant classic.

For me this was a delightful book, very heartfelt, with illustrations filled with the same odd, unforgettable charm as the poems.

-Ned Clay
Love & Love Reclaimed
The Simple Press

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Praise for Chatter in the Canopy

Jeff Roberts' poetry is a delightful surprise. This collection of poems is a pleasure to read and re-read from cover to cover. In his work, the poet captures the essence of a moment, an instance, in an interaction with others and with nature. "Cold Shower," for example, gracefully moves through nuances of connection and through a shift of mood, feeling and intention. As I read, it is as if I am absorbing the contents of the poems; it is a sensate feeling; a connection; leaving me touched and moved and right there with the poet. His images of the natural world are lovely; recognizable; pleasurable to feel and touch. His work is warm and has life to it. The illustrations are also lovely and compliment and strengthen the poems. "Chatter..." has become a favorite of mine; easy to pick up for a few minutes a day; and also, a favorite gift for my friends. My hat is off to a kind, gentle, insightful, engaging poet, Jeff Roberts.

-Laura Hackell

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baby Eel and Frank O'Hara

A baby eel dropped by the Modern
today, at noon. The eel
and Frank left together to grab
a bite and feel the sun on one side
of each of their pale faces. Frank wrote
another delicious lunch poem about
the time the eel and Kynaston McShine
danced the rhumba at The Old Place
while Joe laughed about the eel having
one left foot and how quickly he would
be able to steal the eel from KS
and dance him up to 9th street
on puddles on the sidewalk at dawn.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

the way to hump a cow

No one likes everything. For example, none of us have the time to develop the knowledge and the sophisticated ear needed to appreciate all music. We listen; we discover. We winnow.

When young we are silly in our devotion to and imitation of certain songs and artists. When Midnight Train to Georgia comes on the radio, I still turn into a Pip. Jimmy Buffet’s A Pirate Looks at Forty still touches me.

I am similarly affected when I read poetry by e e cummings or Stanley Kunitz or Charles Simic or Dylan Thomas or Tony Hoagland or Jeff McDaniel or William Carpenter. When I hear Desmond Egan’s Northern Ireland Question, I have the urge to windmill my arm like Pete Townshend.

Every now and then at a poetry reading, someone will tell me that they don’t like poetry. What if someone told you, "I don’t like music?" You’d think, How sad.

What if we let poetry sneak up on us when we're young - like music - and act just as silly while learning to ...bellow like a bool?

What if?