October 3, 2015

Book Review: "Edgewater" Poetry By Arthur Powers


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, winding
the Mississippi’s green hills hot in
summer, the locusts singing alive
the Illinois sun, we moved slowly,
following curving grey roads that led
through 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 coat
hangs on the white wall
floating in air,

as though no hook
held it there,
It’s empty arms

stand rounded,
crooked at the elbow,
holding out no hands

as though the crumpled,
hanging figure
begged for hunger,

pointing with no fingers
from the black pits
of 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.

~Janine Pickett

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