THE HOUSE OF THE OLD POET by Ted Thompson

THE HOUSE OF THE OLD POET

and other poems and pictures (1994-2004)

KIRKUS REVIEW

Quietly life-affirming poems on a variety of subjects.

In his second volume of poetry (Meeting with the Gods, 1992), Thompson tackles the natural order of things with an engaging collection of reader-friendly verse. Harkening back to his earlier interest in myth and spirituality, the poet also branches out to explore various stages of his life, from “Growing up in Scarsdale” to pining for love as an older man to the personification of numerous creatures from the animal kingdom (“The Optimistic Clam,” bears galore, a dog or two, a giraffe, et al). Thompson also presents six of his own provocative abstract acrylic paintings, unfortunately rendered in this edition as low-quality black and white images. Luckily, the layout of the text is far kinder, allowing for the easy comprehension of the subtle meter and more than occasional rhyme scheme. If any theme unites these disparate works, it’s an appreciation for subdued living. Thompson repeatedly celebrates the unsung heroines of everyday life. “The strange truth is that a great leader / Hides inside our mild proofreader,” we learn of “The Lady Dressed in Dusty Rose”; likewise, the “demure” and kindly spinster, “Aunt Jessie,” offers comfort in place of the speaker’s mother, “that selfed-out bitch whose only wish / Was that her brood adore her.” Most of these works lack the bite of that last line, however, relying instead on a muted levity. In “The Greater Spirit,” Thompson employs simple rhyme to promote his holistic, universal sense of being: “Here we are subject to unforgiving laws. / When an avalanche wipes out the ranch, / When children expire in whirlwind fire, / We call it tragedy / Or pretend our luck’s a little raggedy / But that will not be the cause.”

Occasionally precious, but these poems should speak to a wide readership.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2006
ISBN: 0-595-37887-0
Program: Kirkus Indie
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