THE EYE OF THE ASPEN by Jay Eacker

THE EYE OF THE ASPEN

And Other Bad Poems
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this debut collection, an author reminds readers that poetry can be fun.

Certainly, Eacker’s tongue is planted firmly in his cheek when he calls his writing “bad poetry.” And as audiences read along, it becomes clear that by “bad poetry” he means light verse—simple, comic pieces whose levity often belie their complexity and nuance. As such, his most obvious forefather is Ogden Nash, the master of droll doggerel whose oeuvre includes the classic “Reflections on Ice-Breaking”: “Candy / Is dandy. / But liquor / Is quicker.” Like Nash, Eacker isn’t interested in provoking deep reflections; a light chuckle is the more obvious goal. To wit, here are stanzas from “The Hunters,” about a pair of robins: “It was clear / That they were mated / But not that they / Were twitter-pated. / (They did not / Engage in woo / By way of / Bill-and-coo).” The wordplay—or bird-play—is subtle and ultimately satisfying. But it should not cause readers to miss the fact that “Hunters” is also a finely observed nature poem about the local fauna. Indeed, many of Eacker’s offerings try to reveal the oft-ignored beauty of the natural world, and he devotes dozens of stanzas to the trees, animals, and insects with which he shares his small corner of the planet. Accordingly, here are bits from “Blue Spruce”: “No, this tree / Has a special hue / And that special hue is blue, / Which may be / Some sort of clue. / We planted it / When we first moved in. / That’s how long ago / It’s been / … / Who could have known / It would grow so tall / Starting out / As just a ball?” For some, the simplicity of Eacker’s writing will seem a defect; how hard is it to rhyme “tall” and “ball” or “tree” and “be”? In other words, fans of T.S. Eliot should look elsewhere. But for those seeking less demanding pleasures from their poetry, this volume is sure to amuse.

Diverting and delightful verse.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5320-1520-5
Page count: 104pp
Publisher: iUniverse
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2017