In this spare volume of poetry and reflection, Cox (“Whoa! Are They Glad You’re in Their Lives?” 2013, etc.) encourages creativity in the corporate world and beyond.
Cox thinks outside of the boardroom with this thin presentation of poetry, self-examination and questions for small group discussions. Poems such as the energetic “Industry” demonstrate an understanding of the perils and joys of modern business life: “What does the / road warrior want, / having that last / cup of coffee / in the hotel dining room.” More universal subjects are also covered, for example the poem “Youth,” which laments the loss of a childhood mentor named Donny: “He was gone / then the light went out.” Some of the lines can be trite, such as in “Now,” when Cox sings the praises of living in the moment: “Every kiss / a drop of love, / you can’t / store it.” The strongest entries use concrete images and depict everyday scenes. For example, in “Hat,” Cox describes the memory of a refreshingly unpretentious friend: “She donned that / old rumpled straw hat, / the one with the / broad brim and faded / wide brown ribbon.” “Frame” celebrates the working-class roots of American philosopher Eric Hoffer by describing a view of the San Francisco Bay through a window in his toolshed. This scene, says the narrator, rivals the finest galleries in the world. Discussion questions at the end of the book can be used as writing prompts, e.g., Cox instructs readers to stretch their creative wings by standing at a window and allowing an image to capture the imagination. “Do you see anything you haven’t seen before?” he asks. Guidelines for effective group discussions are also included. Despite a few stale lines, the spirit in this collection rises above the corporate world, and the questions and poetry can be used at retreats, workshops or meetings.
Creative inspiration for poetry novices, small groups and those who are burned out by the business world.