Poetry by Arthur Powers
Published by Finishing Line Press
Reviewed by Janine Pickett
October 3, 2015
I was struck by the unassuming elegance of Edgewater. The book is beautifully crafted. From the artwork on the cover through the 33 pages of poetry, Arthur Powers takes you on a journey you’ll not soon forget. Culled from his travels across the Heartland and his memories about the life he knows and loves, he captures a spirit of people and place through the use of wit, imagery, observation, and compression. The poems are not long but they are dynamic. They remind me of little temples containing big revelations. An example from one of the poems, Nauvoo to Bishop Hill (Summer, 1977):
From Nauvoo up to Knoxville, windingthe Mississippi’s green hills hot insummer, the locusts singing alivethe Illinois sun, we moved slowly,following curving grey roads that ledthrough myths of our imagination.
There was a flowing sense of unity and emotion as I explored Powers’ landscape. I found myself feeling soothed, welcomed, meditative. I knew he was taking me somewhere and showing me new things, not just in the physical realm, but the spiritual realm as well. I didn’t want the journey to end. One of my favorite poems from the book:
A Grey Coat, A Hook,A White Wall(for Christ Our Lord)
The grey coathangs on the white wallfloating in air,
as though no hookheld it there,It’s empty arms
stand rounded,crooked at the elbow,holding out no hands
as though the crumpled,hanging figurebegged for hunger,
pointing with no fingersfrom the black pitsof empty sleeves.
Simple. Rhythmic. Profound. I’ll treasure my copy of Edgewater for years to come.
You can buy your copy here.
About The Author:
Arthur Powers is from Illinois. In 1969 he went to Brazil as a Peace Corps Volunteer and lived most of his adult life there. From 1985 to 1992 he and his wife lived in the Brazilian Amazon, working with subsistence farmers in a region of violent land conflicts; through his experience with the farmers, Arthur came to appreciate more deeply his own Midwestern heritage.
Arthur received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and numerous other writing awards. He is author of two books of fiction and of a poetry chapbook forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (see below). His poetry has appeared in many anthologies & magazines, including America, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Christianity & Literature, Hiram Poetry Review, Kansas Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Roanoke Review, South Carolina Review, & Southern Poetry Review.