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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Drink nectar

When all else fails, flip my hair and pack on the make up

fill up the lines with lies

hook up the bra with magnetic propaganda

but Jim keeps whispering to me from the dead

he made me type his every poem

while getting 100

back when typing had a rhythm

back when poets were rare.

Too much crap and bullshit snow

in beginning of spring

yet all the thieves of my heart

are running in the forest

barely visible to humanity

whose heads are bent

with neck spasms.

I studied it alright and took a break

no one is the best and no one is my favorite

a few appointments missed

will not change my life.

I miss you like a writer misses reading

but when I get my fix of modern love

I have to go back to ancient gods

and drink nectar.

I apologize for my messy hair

getting in the way

of your day.

I’ll step back

take off my robe

and take pictures

you won’t want to see.

Electric Fence

My eyes are not that dark

I won’t scare you away

with my aura, supposedly

you like my scent

but

have you read me

to the point

where the back of your throat

is so dry

that only my

mouth on yours

would quench that thirst?

Never answer my questions

you should know more about me by now

but you stopped listening a long time ago

too far to know that it is best

to keep away from my electric fence.

I need so much “space”

that cliches are my t-shirt slogan.

He reads my book lying in bed

you are not in my head, just my book

you are not in my book, just my head.

I tell him I loved him more

when he loved me less

he says

I can never stop loving you

when the dark and the grey meet

it makes my insides corrupt

bare, existential

reciting Sartre like Shakespeare

confusing my philosophers with my poets.

Do your thing and write, do your magic

and love me with your gift

give me yourself.

I can still pirouette

on hard wood floors

so many talents

you will never know

and others that get buried

under the snow.

Sleeping naked is

how we were born to be

put on our clothes

and hide under labels

undress it all

digress from poems

and music

art

walk in a garden, or the

streets at three a.m

where I’m most free

in the deep night

not scared of anything

even in New York, Athens,

Rome, Montreal,

the night is where I find

the parts of me

I forgot about during the day.

I must confess: I am more attracted to

cities

than people.

In this I know I am not alone.

Subterfuge

Every time I read The Great Gatsby
The flaws appear like claws.
The false hope (the buried seeds)
The reality (the burnt lights)
The illusion (the masked truth)
Living in the moment (dying for it)
The deceit (the diversity of love).
Hence, the walls rise
To reflect upon the mortar
And perhaps I could be the woman you need
But do you even need me?
You are thriving on your own
Free
Alive
Much better than I fare
I’d rather wear my jeans
Than put on the fake fancy air. I will not write for you.
She is far from who I could ever be
and he is not you.

None of it is real
plays with my head
as I stare at the moon
during the day before I open my bed.
I mean nothing of what I say
do not care about the splash
I suppose Daisy and I would share a drink and some hash
and Tom would sweep me off my feet again (like he always does)
and the poems would lay
at the bottom of the pool
as the blinding light
seizes to blink
love’s selfishness
and how it can all sink.

See you anon

Writing a novel is such a task

words found somewhere on the bottom of a tin flask

one last drop to tie me over

give me luck with a fake four leaf clover.

The dead trees still live

on the icy snow

we pass the farms, the homes

trying to let the feelings go

but they knock

they hum

like the sounds of this train or a long lost battle drum

on a bumpy ride or a field of dead

drink coffee and hide

behind Gatsby’s bed

or samples of another book

about people I never knew

or ones that I want to meet

so I write

on this train

on my feet

on a chair

in my head

up the musical stairs

as long as I paid the fare.
Did you miss my words?

all these crying kids

buy sour cream and onion chips

and then the mirror on the taxi reminds

me of him

fills my head up with deceitful lights

take words and turn them into

the vast forest

spanning across our two provinces

flowing in and out of them as robbers do

trickery, lies and subterfuge

filled with sweet apple pies.

Show my boarding pass

I have 87% of Fitzgerald

can’t stop reading about Daisy

Tom and Jay

leave nothing behind

night has turned into day

your name on my lips

and hands tightly squeeze my hips

for the trees are whispering again

and I know

people like us

can only hear them

even from behind the glass.

I write the title first

it’s from the book

another route

and cable lines

keep us joined

stronger than poetry.

Grab my bags

I’m coming home

and I missed you too.

Anniversary

Burgundy velvet interior
Godfather scenes
we held smooth hands
bonded with devoted plans
some underground
visible, and invisible.
We giggled, yes, you held my heart with your devious blue eyes

Coffee cup on Anne
bite marks on my neck
well hidden
dancing to the sounds
no one else could hear
first there was the downpour
then all became clear
judging my love with the weather
looking for signs in a dead feather
then we pressed our fresh faces
in the back of the limousine
for a snapshot
in black and white film.
Red roses, white flowers in my dark hair
Pablo Neruda quotes
hand painted angels with hand written tiny
notes.

The artist in me made you swell
you made that? Hand painted each note? You chose red?

Yet, my love, by the time you said
I love your ways
I blocked my ears
and ran for a while.
The moment came and went
lightning and thunder
entered me
I care too much about timing
reading to you in bed
Tropic of Cancer
and then you loved him too
you said don’t ever stop
and Now I do.

What are you doing? I don’t even reply.
My pen is on fire
burning ashes
on the lines
no one can reach me
in that place where I belong
no one can stop me at Second Cup
and ask me what went wrong.

This day is sealed within us
we flew to London, Greece
and slept where Gods slept
as your Spartan shield
protected me
as it did from the start
when you tiptoed into my broken heart.