Smorgasbord by Kevin Frederick Smith
Kevin Frederick Smith, as proven in his new chapbook, Smorgasbord, is a young master of an art-form that has, regrettably, long been on the fade – Romantic poetry. Odes to school days, friends, unrequited loves and the sweetness of simple things fill his 26-page, bound chapbook put out by Writing Knights Press.
The images are lean and surprising. The poem “The Old Schoolhouse” revisits an abandoned school. As the protagonist touches a blackboard, “The chalk of ages is disturbed/ only to settle once again.”
In another key poem, Mr. Smith displays his wry humor, parodying the song, “My Favorite Things”. He notes, “singers who really don’t know how to sing” are among his “Least Fav’rite Things”.
Kevin knows an economy of words, and as with all skilled poets who utilize rhyme and shorter poems, he makes every word count.
Relatively new to the Cleveland poetry scene, I am certain this Kevin has a bright future in all of his endeavors, not least of which, I hope, will be more works like Smorgasbord. -Marc Steven Mannheimer, poet
The Perry Square Gospels by Geoff Peterson
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Poems. Tasty, dark. Brief, none longer than one page. Bet you can’t eat just one. Bitter chips. "
Poems with setting, mostly the weathered urban civilization along the southern shore of the Great Lakes mostly Lake Erie, particularly Pennsylvania, specifically Perry Square, the two-block park where Sixth and State Streets meet in Erie, east from Gannon University to Erie Insurance, north from City Hall to the former Richford Hotel. The Perry Square Gospels, poems.
Geoff Peterson, poet, the author, has a big geographical experience. He’s been from New York to Mexico to Tokyo, maybe France, writing his experience, in many previous volumes. Geoff Peterson is prolific. You can trace his work back through a list of publications on an inside page. With Perry Square we find Peterson in Erie, as close to a home for him as any of us can have in this life.
Geoff Peterson is one among the hardy band of poets practicing in Erie Pennsylvania USA. You can see him live, if you’re lucky. Sometimes he reads at Poets’ Hall, that gallery space dedicated to poetry in Erie. His next appearance will be at the Erie Book Store. And Geoff Peterson is a cat who reads with great voice. You can hear his voice in his lines as text, but live it’s better than the Jefferson Airplane.
And Geoff Peterson is a poet who addresses meaningful concerns, the existential questions at the center of life. Would you like to get your answers in black-and-white, delivered from under a fedora by Peter O’Toole, on a streetlight-lit corner and it’s raining? You’ll get that wisdom here, in The Perry Square Gospels. And then some. Geoff Peterson’s take on life is so penetrating it hurts.
You will also notice characters in The Perry Square Gospels. Some inhabit just one line. One character is repetitive, she’s called Margot, probably in tribute to a long ago movie actress. The poems in The Perry Square Gospels are written in such strong voice you are there with these folks, especially the narrator, rendered slack-jawed in wonderment at times, captured by lines of short to medium length that snap like fingers baby, cracking when the lines break, rocking the enjambement.
Geoff Peterson is serious. He is also funny. The Perry Square Gospels is a riot in its own right. If you don’t know his poetry, The Perry Square Gospels is an excellent introduction. If you do know Geoff Peterson’s poetry, his noir style, laughing with the canary in the coalmine, The Perry Square Gospels, a collection of poems, just the facts, is one of his best." -Chuck Joy, author of "Fun Poetry"
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