Poets Wear Prada is a poetry publishing house with excellent poets and affordable books with beautiful covers. Have you had your poetry today?--Meredith Sue Willis, Books for Readers * * * Stylistically, these beautifully designed and produced chapbooks bear their own distinctive signature.--Linda Lerner, SMALL PRESS REVIEW

Monday, March 1, 2010

Laura Vookles | John on the Chrysler

What is so evident in Laura Vookles is the ring of the 'quiet truth'. What would be drums and trumpets in the hands of other poets becomes the symphony of the understated in her hands. I do not mean that you will find soft-strings sugaring-over sharp edges of grief; quite the opposite. In her works grief is met in a quiet room. The discussion is civil. The sound you hear is your heart breaking for her. There are not harsh lights in LV's work. Still, her words do not give anything any place to hide.
Ryk McIntyre, Poet, Dad, Cantab Lounge CoHost and Self-Appointed Unitarian Pope

Click here to read
Small Press Review, Mar - Apr 2008, Vol. 40, Nos. 3 - 4, Issues 422 - 423, Reviews, "Smoke" by Linda Lerner, a review of Laura Vookle's John on the Chysler (Poems of Love and Grief).

This is a highly recommended collection any reader cannot fail to be moved by. For those of us who've tried to make ourselves heard through the barrier of death, reach someone who is gone, these poems will especially resonate.
Linda Lerner, Author of 12 chapbooks including City Woman (March Street Press, 2006) and Living In Dangerous Times (Presa Press, 2007).

Click here to read Chiron Review, 2008, Book Reviews, A more complete review of Laura Vookle's John on the Chysler (Poems of Love and Grief) by Linda Lerner.

by Laura Vookles
soft cover/saddle stitched/17 pp.
$6.25 (+ $1.50 S&H)

Laura Vookles (a.k.a. LV) is chief curator at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY, where she has worked for over 20 years. Her most recent scholarly essay is featured in Westchester: the American Suburb, co-published by the Hudson River Museum and Fordham University Press. Her poetry has been included in two anthologies Look! Up in the Sky! An Anthology of Comic Book Poetry (Sacred Fools Press), HIS RIB: Stories, Poems & Essays by HER (Penmanship Books) and has been published in Ballard Street Poetry Journal as well as online at RogueScholars.com and November3rdClub.com. She writes memoir about growing up in Memphis, her grandmothers, motherhood, her husband's death and middle-aged romance. She has featured for the Worcester Storytellers, the Poetry Asylum New Year's Prom, GotPoetry Live, the louderARTS UPPERCASE series, The Back Fence, The Brownstone Poets, among other venues. She won the first ever White Plains Library Slam, joined the Westchester National Slam Poetry Team and competed this past August [2007] in Austin, Texas.

John’s Karmann Ghia

Who knows what became of John’s
sun yellow Karmann Ghia?
Perhaps, as I imagined many times,
a gust of wind lifted the body,
joints weak from rust,
off that chassis and bore it heavenward?
Perhaps it did not truly exist
after it ceased to be his baby
and, languishing in another driveway,
the sun simply slipped past the horizon?
But that German coupe is never far from me
when I think of him. One in the same.
Vintage cool and showing its age.
James Dean of the museum staff parking lot.
I hate yellow cars but I made an exception.
Real chrome, with dents and scratches
to match a chiseled nose and
wayward bronze whiskers in a silver beard.
Smoky leather interior like his old bomber jacket.
Engine turning over like a biplane, more bark than bite.
Not a comfortable ride
but intriguing and exciting.
A car to put sex on the brain but no place to do it.
All pent up and screaming for attention,
while John pretended to keep a low profile,
Joy Division blaring in the wood workshop.
Unique like him, a relic in 1990.
I only ever saw one other on the road.
Robin’s egg or was it wide blue sky?—
looking for a yellow sun.

Laura Vookles recites her "1960 Baby" at Bowery Poetry Club, New Year's Day 2008
[Video Credit: Roxanne Hoffman, Poets Wear Prada]

Laura Vookles is an astonishing poet who rises from life's heartwrenching path only to forge a bridge to all our hearts through brilliant observation and the witness of words.
Su Polo, Curator of the Saturn Series Poetry Reading, NYC

If we consider that each poem is a gesture, and that gesture may be turned inward, toward the poet's self, or directed outward, toward an object or other, this book becomes an opening of hands, an offering not just to John, the direct beloved, but to each of us, reading, a soft unfolding of palms insisting, “I have many train stories, but this is yours.”
Marty McConnell, member of the Piper Jane Project and co-curator of louderARTS, NYC

Two of the hardest topics to write about are Love and Loss. So many times they are written about superficially, lacking depth, context, or explanation as to why it should be important to the reader. LV manages to tread this territory with the skill of a seasoned tour guide, covering the important touchstones while pointing out small details that give the larger picture depth. Even at its most emotionally raw points, LV's poetry presents itself with a grace and beauty rarely found when discussing such hefty topics as Love and Loss. She manages to capture small moments with the exacting eye of a war photographer, leaving us with word pictures both gorgeous and heartbreaking in their honesty. She also talks about some cool cars.
Bill MacMillan, Founder of the Worcester Poets' Asylum and member of the 1996 National Slam Champion team, Providence, R.I.

In “John on the Chrysler”, boundary-defying poet LV has given us a powerful and modern elegy. Tenderly cataloguing her late husband's life with clear and thoughtful verse glittering with detail, LV allows us to join her as she attempts to make sense out of what is ultimately senseless -- the early death of a husband and father. Heart-breaking yet resilient, mournful yet hopeful, this collection may long for what might have been, but it also shows a profound and brave understanding of what is. It is testament to the power of LV as a writer that one leaves this book – a book so inextricably tied to death--with a grateful sense of awe, wonder and triumph.
Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Founder & Host of Urbana Slam at NYC’s Bowery Poetry Club

No comments:

Post a Comment