Monday, January 30, 2012
The Accidental Navigator by Henry Denander, reviewed by BL Kennedy
The Accidental Navigator
San Pedro, CA
The Last Stanza
I had a letter from a magazine saying he
passed on my poems, which is fine of course, but
in the end he added that he really liked one of my
poems up to the last stanza which he didn’t like
I liked the letter from the editor
except his last stanza.
Let me say this right up front; Henry Denander is one of my favorite poets. I know-- I know what you’re going to say. A book reviewer should be objective and not play the favorites card. But you know what? I need to ask the readers how one reviews a book of poetry that comes from the heart. Truth is, I loved reading these poems. It was like taking a trip back to my days at Naropa. For in these poems I saw the lyrical explorations and conversational idioms of some of my teachers such as Anselm Hollo, Ed Sanders, Andrew Shelling, and Robert Creeley. Simply put, I consider Henry Denander a master poet.
The bad side is that this wonderful collection of new and selected poems and a story was published by Lummox Press, a press that, in the past, has given me great trouble over reviewing their books. In fact, I almost did not review this book because of the pushiness of this particular press. But, once I opened it up and read the poems, it became a different story. These new poems of Henry Denander were striking and filled with beautiful narrative. I simply could not put the book down. As I’ve already pointed out, Denander is a master poet. What really struck me about this wonderful collection is that it opens up with an introductory statement not by Denander, but by that master poet in Cleveland, Tom Kryss. Now, understand why this is significant: the fact that Tom Kryss wrote this introductory statement brings Denander’s writings to a new light, at least for me. It has a connection with the Cleveland poetry scene started by d.a. levy. Up until now, I never saw Henry Denander as a member of the mimeograph revolution, and he probably isn’t. But because of these beautiful introductory notes by Tom Kryss, he is now, at least in my mind, a member of that rebel school of underground poets.
So let’s finish this up. I ain’t shootin from the hip when I tell you to get off your butts and don’t go to your bookstore, because most bookstores do not purchase Lummox Press. So order this wonderful collection of poetry by a man who I consider the newest member of the Living Underground.