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Where the Sidewalk Ends Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Unlike many children, including my wife, I didn't grow up reading Shel Silverstein. This is both sad and joyous. Sad because I didn't read him sooner, but joyous because I get to discover him fully now as an adult. Nothing short of brilliant. I especially love his more subversive pieces that take aim at complacency and thoughtlessness and other symptoms of ignorance that are too present in our culture.

The World According to Whiskey The World According to Whiskey by Tom House


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the only published collection of Tom House's poetry and it is well worth seeking out. He focuses a lot on the downtrodden in the contemporary South. (He is, also, a Nashville songwriter.) Sometimes they revel in sex or drunkenness or both, but there is always sadness there, as if the characters know it is wrong, but don't know what else to do. Some of these poems are disturbing, some are heartbreaking, but all of them capture a piece of contemporary life in a very real way. Highly recommended.

Leavings: Poems Leavings: Poems by Wendell Berry


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Berry's most recent book of poetry finds him angry and cynical. He continues to rail against capitalist greed and the destruction of the land for the sake of oil and coal, but there is an added element of Christian spiritualism as well. At times, it's a bit offsetting and I struggled to get exactly what he was trying to say. (In particular, there's a poem dealing with evolution that eludes me.)

Nonetheless, he is still a brilliant and beautiful poet.

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