Sat Mar 24, 2007
Poet Olson's 'zen-like precision'
By Frederick Smock
The work of Southern poet Ted Olson tells us that short poems need not be small. His "TVA Blues," for example, is a keen complaint about man's willful derangement of the landscape, in seven short lines:
The last place
we made love --
on an exposed rock
in a wild river --
is now under water,
at the bottom of
this damned lake
The economy of such a poem seems, in and of itself, an ecological act.
This new book collects many brief and insightful poems, from one of the art's chief practitioners. Olson is also the editor of
CrossRoads: Southern Culture Annual.
His eye is drawn to beauty in odd places, as in "At the Old Homesite":
up the chimney
used to do,
a morning glory
where the roof
used to be.
There is a zen-like precision to these poems, and, likewise, a wisdom that sometimes surpasses understanding. Though lean, this is a large book.
Frederick Smock is poet-in-residence at Bellarmine University.