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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Spilt Wine

Start the night with wine

in my hair, on my dress,

in my stockings

brand new shoes

bare shoulder

and a few broken

apologies. I saw it

coming too,

and just watched it.

Kind of like life

that was yesterday.

Tonight,

now another bar

another jazz singer

singing the blues

under copper tiled ceilings

and feathers in her hair

you’d think it was suddenly

1920 art deco Paris.

But no,

it’s the house of Jazz

in Laval, Quebec.

Hanging with the girls

who sold my life away.

Do you pay the bill?

Cosmos and red chandeliers

blue bottine in the vitrine

and it’s a wonderful world

in here.

The only thing missing is you

with me.

It makes me cry

you’ll never see

what I see.

Not even pictures

do it justice.

Rita called me

she’ll be 20

minutes late,

god damn Montreal traffic.

It’s fine.

I’ll order another Cosmo

write a poem.

Listen to the jazz singer

and lament

you.

Never Tell

I can never tell who loves me anymore

they like to rehash old shit

from five years ago

when I wasn’t the same person.

They like to pretend they know me

because they read my poems.

I can never tell who needs me anymore

they live their own life

without calling me

or texting me a simple hello.

I can never tell who wants me anymore

they don’t say “i want you”

they ignore me

and make me feel useless

and hated.

I can never tell the time anymore

it keeps on making my future

unattainable.

I am losing my witching powers

and becoming too normal

I dislike people

and only want them one on one.

Groups are killing my spirit

eating up my leftovers

and wiping their mouth

with glee

at my destruction.

I just can’t tell anymore

if love

is real.

If

If the water on the windowsill

could be your molecules

they would give me a paper

to smell

a pen to place safely away

near my utensils

think of me when it rains

how the droplets

become you and me

falling from the sky

like bullets on a battlefield

like trees in the rainforest

sometimes still

most times turbulent

aged and chopped

preserved and honoured.
From “Love & Vodka”

All my books are available at all on-line bookstores, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc. Thank you for reading & your support.πŸ’ž

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5 tips for Editing Poetry Books

I have recently edited a few poetry books for fellow poets. I find that most poets, find it hard to edit their own poems and a second opinion is sometimes necessary to get out of their own head. I must admit that I never hired a poetry editor for my three poetry books, but I had a particular vision and look that I knew I wanted for my poems.

If you are looking for a poetry editor or you are editing your poems yourself here are 5 tips that worked for me and how I go about editing poetry books.

  1. After every draft, you should put your manuscript away for over two weeks and clear your mind. As many times as you go through your manuscript, is as many times you must put it aside. This ensures that you start fresh every time and believe me, every time you read it, you will find something that you need to correct or revise. Do this up until there is nothing left to rewrite. Do not settle until you feel your book is done. Eventually, you will know.
  2. You can divide your poetry book into sections or parts with titles so that it flows for the reader. Also, a table of contents with the list of poems at the beginning of the book is always helpful to quickly find a poem. Lately, some poets are not using any titles or table of contents…if you choose to do so, make sure that you divide your book into sections such as loss, healing, love, death, etc. so that there is some kind of order. There are not many rules in poetry and anything may go for certain poets, but in my experience, the books that have no titles or breaks are hard to read and difficult to distinguish one poem from the next.
  3. Every poetry book needs a Copyright page, a Dedication page, Acknowledgements page, at the beginning of the book and an About the Author Page at the end of the book. Number your pages. Look at the poetry books in your library and see how the professionals do it.
  4. Format, font and presentation are an integral part of a poetry book. Pay an expert to create your file in pdf with the appropriate poetic fonts and alignments. Equally, cover art and a blurb brings the book together as a whole.
  5. Make sure the poetry editor you hire has experience, knowledge and a grasp of poetic terms.

Good luck in the editing process, this is the hardest part of writing. As Ernest Hemingway wrote, ” The first draft of everything is shit.”

 

 

 

 

Ageless

I know that age matters not

right now, but then it did.

It mattered when we raced against

the wind. I was just a babe in your arms.

You were a man even as a teenager.

You had this way of bringing me love

on a tray, and spoiling me until

I was full on your love. I had it

all, for a brief time. I showed you

my cuts and bruises

and you kissed them. Your lips

on my shoulders within seconds.

My hands unbuckling your belt

in such a frantic youthful way

in an ageless time

between this world and the next.

Let’s remember where we were

and lament the age of us.

It matters that you see past

the girl. We felt invincible

and will never know that freedom

again, that youthful love we held

onto so naurally.

In the Middle

Once I was at the end of the love song

crying for years because it was over

before it even began. We were caught

loving the wrong person. I immersed

from my drowning and swam to the

beginning of the line. I sailed across

your poems and floated on your words.

You sent them to me by mail, on out-

dated postcards, you wrote them on

the back of my hand with your

fingertips. I sent you magic and

illusions with one needle on your

arm. We lived in a movie and

recited Shakespeare naked in bed.

You were not even close to being

who I thought you were. I was

too much for you to handle back

then, wanting to do everything

and doing absolutely nothing

about it. I climbed Mont-Royal

in heels and you laughed at

my absurdities. I was spontaneous

and explosive, until I wasn’t anymore.

I bent backwards on words

and the power of your hands.

Now I’m in the middle of something

that will change me forever.

I will never bet that girl again.

I have to be someone I thought

I would never be. Life throws you

these wicked curveballs

and I am catching them,

ready to be stuck here

hoping that it will not get

worse. All this hope

for songwriters and poets

but for a regular woman like me

it’s a waste of my time.

Date

I want this date to last more than hours

but you never even made it to the restaurant.

It is so fine with me, I would rather eat alone

and dip my fries in sauce and eat like a pig

and not be judged for using too many conjunctions.

I want you, I really do, but I am changing

every day into an evolved woman. Not yet

married, divorced, separated, cheated,

I am only a young girl wanting someone

who I can never have because then all

the morals written in my chest will be

broken. I will feel broken in this city

we can never see each other in. I already

see the future of Sundays turning

into every other day.

You are so close to my house

and even if you drive by

I will have aged like a dog.

You will have had a multitude

of women while I am hooked

on one life line. It is this way

for I drive my own car and

let no one guide me.

I know which walls to put up

and which ones to let you in

but remember a date is

just a time and place

when two people

either show up

or decide otherwise.

Either way, it’s a date.