Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dispatches from the Desert (Book Review)

July 2013 
The Small Hearts of Ants - Mather Schneider B

I believe it was the English novelist George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans) who said, "Don't judge a book by its cover." However, a book's cover can sometimes be a portal or introduction to the writing. A great cover can enhance the reading experience by igniting one's imagination and motivating them to explore further. The Small Hearts of Ants has one of the most sublime cover photos I've seen in a long time. After stumbling upon Schneider's book and poetry online, I also learned of his blue collar background and subsequent adventures in the desert climate of Arizona. A combination of everything I was seeing and reading about TSHA convinced me that I MUST buy the book. At 200+ pages this book could have been a masterpiece had it been a little leaner and a little tighter. Nevertheless, it's still pretty good and one of the most entertaining books of poetry I've read in a while. Reading this book reminded me of listening to a Bruce Springsteen album - it's about hard luck and hard living. It's unpretentious, humanistic and honest. Like a good Springsteen album, it isn't trying to be something its not. Some of my favorites poems here include:
One Minute You're Free
After Reading a Copy of the American Literary Review
On Hitting Forty Three
Be Mine
Dream Girl
The Failure of Natural Selection
Sweet Saturdays
Time to Order More  

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