Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Breathing Out, by Bruce Niedt

Tonight I went to one of my local B&N stores to hear my friend Bruce Niedt read from his new poetry collection, Breathing Out, which is available from Finishing Line Press.

I've known Bruce for several years now. I met him at the Philadelphia Writer's Conference a few years ago, and we've kept in touch ever since. Bruce is one of those poets who can find inspiration almost anywhere, and in almost anything. Tonight, for instance, he read a poem from his new collection entitled "Little Shoplifters", written about the birds who break open and eat birdseed inside home improvement stores. I've stood and watched those birds any number of times, yet it never once occurred to me to write a poem about it.

My favorite piece that he read tonight from his new collection might have been his homage to Billy Collins (or so he said in introduction), "All the Clocks in My House Are Set to Different Times", although it's a tough call, since "Dream", which he wrote about his now-deceased father-in-law was marvelous, and brought tears to my eyes. Also in this collection, his poem "Sultry", which is one of my favorites of his poems (I've heard him read it before, although he didn't read it tonight). Bruce shares it at his occasional blog, Orangepeel (possibly named after another of his poems, which he did read tonight, entitled "How to Peel an Orange"), and it also appeared previously in the online journal, Thick With Conviction.

by Bruce Niedt

On the weekend, you were a steady rain.
Yesterday, when you were mostly cloudy,
it was hard to read your sky.
But today you’re bright sunshine and warm
with a light southerly breeze
and a high in the upper 80’s.
Everything blooms around you
and fragrances follow your path.
I want to meet you on the veranda
as lemonade glasses sweat the afternoon.
Let’s generate a strong Bermuda high.
Tonight, let’s make a little thunder in the bedroom,
and glisten afterward, twisted in dampened sheets.
It’s not your heat, baby,
it’s your humidity.

Is that not steamily wonderful? *fans self* If you're looking for a "new" poet to discover, I hope you'll give Bruce's work some consideration. His collection is available online from the publisher and at Amazon (if you shop there) for $12.00. Oh, and if you are shopping at Amazon, I hope you'll consider clicking through to Amazon from the CYBILS website, since they get a small contribution from Amazon if you do that, which is used to pay for fountain pens for the award winners.

I read two poems at the open reading following Bruce's half-hour tour de force performance: "In the New Mall" (short free verse poem) and "The Wild November Sea" (two-page poem written during this weekend's writing retreat - iambic pentameter with a variable rhyme scheme). Both of the poems "played" well. Huzzah!

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