Book Review of Pulling Words by Nicholas Trandahl

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Pulling Words is like Pulling Weeds for Nicholas Trandahl

Rating: Five out of Five stars

Nicholas Trandahl is one of my favorite contemporary poetic voices. I have read his poetry books before and every time I am amazed at the simple brilliance. His approach is methodical, reflective, environmental and brutally honest. Trandahl’s new poetry book published by Winter Goose Publishing is his best yet. Trandahl captures, nature, war, peace, love and family life in such divine poems that reflect nature and the beauty of everyday life. He finds the extraordinary in the ordinary and this is what makes Nicholas Trandahl a true poet. His ability to see thunder, rain, war zones through his quiet eyes. He is a peaceful man, and his beautiful soul is pulling words out of the universe with exquisite gestures.

There are so many poems in this collection that reached out to me and touched me. In particular, “The House on Pine Street” this poem describes the poet and his childhood home, how memories of riding bikes with friends, first kisses, innocence and that unique bond we have with our first home. Some memories are cherished and some we try to forget. His attention to detail and imagery is so accurate you feel as if you are looking at the home standing right next to him. You are observing and feeling his memories too. This is the the true nature of literature to share your art through the magic of words.

Here are the poems I read over and over again and will continue to do so.

“Maybe Poets Are Not Liars” just by the title I knew I would love this poem as a poet I understood it.

“Decaying Qualities”

I’m reading Mary Oliver

because there is no poet on earth

better to read

in the quiet sunshine.”

This poetry book is a must read for readers who adore Mary Oliver and Jim Harrison, this genre of poetry brings reminds me why I love poetry so much.

“Belgium”

The swell of time

is illuminated with

terrible moments-

more being born

each golden morning. ”

In “Things To Appreciate” Nicholas Trandahl shows us once again how to appreciate the moment, the objects that bring us joy in that moment, such as a book, a typewriter, smoking a pipe, having a cocktail. We see throughout his work that capturing these moments in poems is his forte. The times he is surrounded by his family and feels the love, these are the moments we all go through but rarely stop to think that it is fleeting. This is the magic of being a true poet, living in carp diem and writing about it. Trandahl captures these moments and paints them on his poetic canvas. Time and place is essential, his poems visit Wyoming, Martha’s Vineyard and deep forests. As someone who spent many childhood summers in The Cape, I understand the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard and relate to the scenery described, as well. Towns, cities are also relevant to Trandahl’s poems. The feeling one gets upon looking at quaint towns in the New England coast, can also bring back childhood moments.

 

Another theme throughout this book is war and the brutal nature of it. Equally, solitude and finding yourself as an individual by being truly alone and listening to yourself. This is so hard for most people to do, but as a poet, this is essential. The escape from the every day life and the solitude required to write, the discipline, the calmness. Trandahl evokes that calmness with his description of nature and his walks with his family and daughters. Everyone is in this book whom he loves. There is no particular order, there is only the poet’s observation.

 

Trandahl’s reflective poems makes the reader think about all that is important in the universe and not once is money brought up. This is the wisdom and power of words that have experience. When a poet has so many experiences in his or her life, there is more to discover about human nature and our motivations. If there is anything positive I can take from reading Pulling Words, it is to appreciate the moments that we have with our family, the universe and our own life experience.

 

Nicholas Trandahl writes at the edge of the Black Hills of Wyoming, where he lives with his wife and children.

Twitter: @PoetTrandahl

Facebook: Poet Nicholas Trandahl

You can purchase his book here:

 

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My book review of Lost Yellow by Nicholas Trandahl

Lost Yellow A poetry collection by Nicholas Trandahl published by Swyers Publising/2013

First off I have to say, I don’t usually do book reviews. I do little short goodreads reviews, but this poetry book needs it. No, it calls for it.

I discovered Nicholas Trandahl’s work on Twitter and loved what I read so I purchased his first poetry book collection. Lost Yellow is a poetry book that takes a walk into the mind of a soldier in war torn Middle East. It feels as if he is alone in a forest, walking among his fellow soldiers, but devoid of feeling. He sees the horrors of war, and this in itself is difficult for any person, but as a poet and a lover of humanity, it is even harder to digest. Poets are a sensitive bunch of writers.

This  poetry book also dives into depression and suicide and how PTSD has affected so many soldiers’ lives. Gunshots and battle would drive most men to combat their own inner demons. Trandahl displays this with certainty and grabs the reader’s attention.

Trandahl’s prose delves deep into the heart of a soldier, witnessing his brothers die on the battlefield. When I fold pages in poetry books, it means I am going back to that page. It kept on happening with Lost Yellow. The first page I folded was on Regret. The following is an excerpt,

“In Hell’s hot breath, storm of war.

A siren, air’s ominous drum.

I abandoned you,

Oh! Comrades in Arms.

I should’ve stayed with you.

I should’ve burnt with you.

Lived and died with you.”

The progression of the collection moves forward from the battlefield to his time at home after being discharged to his attempted suicide and finally to achieving some kind of inner peace within himself. However, the battle here is not on land, but within a soul. The hardest part of life is surviving it, and Trandahl explores this struggle of wanting to die versus wanting to live. Plain and simple. Yet how this can eat a person alive.

The poem Depression really stood out for me.

“I will besiege your mind,

Your intellect, your body,

And you very soul.

I will cast your shadows,

And those around you,

In a more vast profound,

Unholy glory of darkness.

I will make you forget,

All the things that once,

Brought joy to your heart.

I will force you to take pills,

Where once you were so,

So very adamant against them.

I will kill you, Nicholas.

If you give me an inch,

I will kill you.

I could not pick an excerpt, for the whole poem is spectacular. Here the poet embodies the true killer is within us. We have the power and the strength to live or die. How the mind plays with our logic, how the mind has its own terrors. I think I have read this poem at least five times. I was also in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, so no-wifi, no distractions, this book had my full attention.

When I pick up a poetry book to read I want to feel the story, hear how the words sound next to each other. It’s a love affair for me. There are so many folded pages here, it’s going to be read over and over again. The most beautiful part of poetry is reading it over again. When a poet achieves that for a reader, there is no better accomplishment.

His style of writing is graceful and gut-wrenching at the same time. Reminiscent of Raymond Carver and Modern poets of our time.

I highly recommend you buy this book. Nicholas Trandahl also illustrated the cover. Quite a talented American poet and painter. Looking forward to his new collection.

Check out his website. http://www.nicholastrandahl.com

Twitter: @AuthorTrandahl

Check out his Amazon page and short story collections.http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Anicholas+trandahl&keywords=nicholas+trandahl&ie=UTF8&qid=1456412936CcDsRuaXEAAYsL2

Thank you for reading and comments are welcome.