Oh yeah. October is just around the corner, and you know what that means, don’t you? Yup. My girlfriend celebrates her birthday. And it’s time to celebrate Ezra Pound’s birthday.
And the Yankees make the playoffs. And it’s Halloween. And Tom Holmes has a book-release reading and party.
That’s right. I’ll be reading at A Different Path Gallery on Saturday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the wonderful art gallery in downtown Brockport, A Different Path Gallery, located at 27 Market Street.
[To download a printable version of the poster, click Poems for an Empty Church PDF.]
Oh yeah. Good times. Poetry, wine, food, and you. Come for the wine. Stay for the poetry.
Here’s what they are saying about the book:
I’ve had a good time with Poems for an Empty Church, which is a big book, capacious, and surprised me with its often free-flowing and associational aesthetics. As you want (usually) a cubist perspective(s), and as you say you want your poem/accept your poem as smarter than you are, you hit all sorts of interesting effects. So, friend, way to go. I peered through the rocks into that eye & land of yours ….
Of course, no church is ever really empty unless people let ritual and myth lapse into repetition and dogma. Even then it isn’t empty, just empty of awe. That’s when origin stories are most necessary, and that’s what Tom Holmes provides in abundance: Moons create amazement, then stones create reflection, then people come along creating words, aggression, fire, flutes, art, physics, and probably our destruction, everything progressing ’til it returns full circle. Along the way, “statues pry themselves from sides of buildings / and exit the city / clutching their plaques.” Along the way, a lot of fine poems unfold, one containing a curse: “you have succeeded / in being only what you thought / you should be.” It’s a curse because we ought to be more. In a century in need of a giant do-over, Poems for an Empty Church reminds us of that. Even better, it makes a good lever or spark.
In Poems for an Empty Church, Tom Holmes writes of birth and death and the life we live in between those two events in beautifully sculpted lines carved into the white space that surrounds them. “I dare say I can hear / muddy angels singing /the lines of God,” he writes in “The Calculus of a Tod Marshall Book of Poems.” There are plenty of angels in Tom Holmes’ poems too, but one must be still enough to hear and appreciate the whisk of wings hovering over these powerful meditations.
– Sarah Freligh, author of Sort of Gone
I think of Charles Olsen when I read Tom Holmes’ poems: open, investigative, prophetic, often with mystical implications. These are the elements of our best modernist poems, and Holmes is a modernist – or a pre-modernist, or a post-pre-modernist. And there lies the real interesting part of his poems, they are hard to fit into anyone anywhere. He sits us in an empty church and says listen. He knows “it was the moons talked first.” He knows the dreams we dream even when “we wheeze / asleep in our boxes of shadows.” In these poems and parables is our collective of fire and nightfall, origins and endings, monochromatics, rivers, and stretch marks. Sappho makes a rare presence, but this is a book more stone-carved than page-written and she too is an ancient muse. As this author’s I is an absent eye, scanning the world of caves and shadows to find clouds who feed themselves, ghosts like alphabets, and men who whittle bones into flutes.
Poems for an Empty Church was officially released September 2, 2011, from Palettes & Quills. Founded in 2002, Palettes & Quills is devoted to the celebration and expansion of the literary and visual arts and offers both commissioned and consulting services. Palettes & Quills works to support beginning and emerging writers and artists to expand their knowledge, improve their skills, and connect to other resources in the community. Further, Palettes & Quills seeks to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of these arts through education, advocacy, hands-on assistance, and by functioning as a literary press.//