Saint Friend by Carl Adamshick

Find in catalogIt’s not often that I read a book of poetry, cover to cover.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy poetry.  I’m fascinated with the way a poet can distill a concentration of imagery and evoke layers of meaning into such sparse phrases.  But I usually imbibe on one or two poems at a time.

However, the confluence of National Poetry Month, which ended yesterday, and the arrival of a new book of poetry – “Saint Friend” by award-winning Portland poet Carl Adamshick – into my hands, led to an exception.  And I wanted to share this remarkable book with you.

I use the phrase “into my hands” deliberately, as the first thing you will notice about this slim volume is the color and sensual feel of its cover.  Inside, the crisp, short table of contents welcomes even the hesitant poetry reader, accessible with plenty of white space.  Already I’ve begun musing about how the structure of a poem, and its layout on the page, contribute to its meaning.  How reading a poem is a different experience than hearing it read.

Each of the ten poems in this volume spoke to me.  I loved the energetic “Everything that Happens Can Be Called Aging,” which celebrates the connection with family and friends as the “constant turmoil of living.”  I’m haunted by the imagery of “Thomas” where “an oar is wedged in your body.”  One poem, “Layover,” is written in an airport; another, “Pacific,” speaks from the voice of Amelia Earhart.  Perhaps my favorite, “Near-Real Time,” is written as a series of journal entries.

All in all, a delightful emersion into this perspective-altering form. – Connie Bennett, Library Director

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