Robert Nordstrom grew up in Ohio but found his true home in Wisconsin, where he has lived for the past 35 years. His fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in numerous state and national literary publications. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee master's program in creative writing, he served as editor for various scholarly and trade magazines, as well asRobert Nordstrom grew up in Ohio but found his true home in Wisconsin, where he has lived for the past 35 years. His fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in numerous state and national literary publications. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee master's program in creative writing, he served as editor for various scholarly and trade magazines, as well as a writing instructor at the university level, for over 30 years. His poetry has won several awards, including the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Triad contests and the Hal Grutzmacher Literary Contests. His poem "Old Lovers" won the 2014 Hal Prize and a residency stay at Write On. These days he stays busy writing poetry sandwiched by a stint as a school bus driver teaching kindergarteners how to snap their fingers and warning that it's probably best they not lick the seat in front of them. Praise for The Sacred Monotony of Breath Just read "Waiting for the Kitchen Floor to Dry" and try to tell me Robert Nordstrom is not a powerful and sensitive witness. Nordstrom asks the big questions about love and death, old lovers and the celebration of living ("Recalling Happy"). Tell me there's a better title than "Drinking Tea Downwind from Auschwitz" or a better first line than "my dog's a liar and she's not very good at it" ("Good Dog"). Read these poems. These are good poems. Bruce Dethlefsen, author of Small Talk and Unexpected Shiny Things, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2011-2012) Robert Nordstrom's poems live richly in the space between memory, breath, and desire. Nostalgic, doubting, and doubling-back over the lost country of childhood and adolescence, he affectionately searches the past for clues that will illuminate the mysterious and haunting present. Alison Luterman, author of Desire Zoo and Feral CityRobert Nordstrom writes with lyrically gritty understatement, compassion, and humor about the ordinary personal and its historical and political shadows: a dead mother "hair in curlers, / nibbling an egg salad sandwich/ on the dark side of a screen door," "a shoplifting orgy/ of squirt guns and yo-yos the morning after" a trip to the altar, returning from Vietnam to a shopping mall's parking lot, a locker room in which "we're all a bunch of cheerleaders and assassins/ with remotes," a bus-load of school kids ... already programmed with the high and low impulses of humans. "These children, these children, these children-/ why do I love them so? Because they open the windows / on the first warm day of winter, / inhabit their stories before parody obscures." Listen as Nordstrom allows his readers to inhabit their stories too. Wendy Vardaman, author of Obstructed View and founding co-editor of Cowfeather Press. She is one of Madison, Wisconsin's two Poets Laureate (2012-2015). 6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm) Black & White on White paper 120 pages (c)2015 Robert Nordstrom Published by Prolific Press Inc. Harborton, VA (USA) ISBN-13: 978-1632750280 ISBN-10: 1632750287 BISAC: Poetry / General ...
|Title||:||The Sacred Monotony of Breath|
|Number of Pages||:||120 Pages|
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The Sacred Monotony of Breath Reviews
Nordstrom's poetry is exquisite, at times almost uncomfortably honest about universal human experience. He captures moments of childhood and adolescence infused with so much nostalgia that the reader feels they experienced it too, whether they lived in the same era or not. The reflections on the ups and downs of marriage and love are beautiful portraits of the exhilarating and bittersweet nature of romantic relationships. His poem about the loss of a cat still puts a lump in my throat even when I think momentarily about it. It will definitely be one I share with all the animal lovers in my life-- because it doesn't reduce it to "Oh, my pet died," but truly honors the life of a beloved companion and the heart-wrenching grief of witnessing their demise, and saying goodbye to such a pure love.
This is a beautiful collection of poetry. Nordstrom's writing is insightful, whether it addresses his memories of how it feels to be young, or his experiences as an adult, he is able to re-create the experience for readers. His poems about childhood and middle school remind me of how it felt to be that age, and his poems about aging provide a window into the future.
I really enjoyed reading Bob's poetry. Having grown up listening to the same music he did during the sixties, I see myself transported back in time. "The World We Pretended Then" is especially poignant because I was the driver of the mail truck in Vietnam.