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Imagining the Self, Poems by Laverne Frith
The quiet interior focus of Laverne Frith’s Imagining the Self also open outward into perspectives that we all share: seeking—and finding—a place in the world.
“With a title like this [Imagining the Self], one is set up to discover a human being one did not know, one of life’s great experiences. The beauty here is in the tentative, slowly appraised pieces of experience which Laverne Frith gradually but tenaciously puts together for us…Because the poems are short and clean, we think we are being given familiarity at first, but almost invariably they land us elsewhere, in a zone of questioning and ambiguity, of searching or farewell.
There is nothing excessive here, neither overwrought language or oversimplified responses...Thus, we are left after each poem with a sad wondering, a renewed but inexplicable question. …There is no hint of a platitude drawn from nature, from love, from paintings, or from observing others. Only attention, and loving concerns. Clearly, Frith can inject himself into a painting by Edward Hopper, until the sadness pushing at Hopper’s room or window ledge arrives into the poem as the poet’s, the painter’s and the reader’s. This is an accomplishment born of long thought about the arts and about language and our curious investments in both. ‘I know that you must live the underside / to know the understory’ states one of the last poems in the collection. I am delighted that we now have this book to study and to cherish.”
“There is a calm, a solitude in these poems ‘of waiting, of observing’ that gives the collection a coherence, a direction that does not easily erode. ‘Learning / to move naturally on the earth’ is the way one poem…puts it. And it is this reciprocity that the poems evoke—the way ‘you pick up / loose stones, toss them in the stream / as though somehow you know // you are giving something back.’ A quiet statement, that reflects the nature of this writing: a way to ‘know for sure … what … was genuine and pure.’ Almost as if nodding to Wallace Stevens, a description of an egret ends in a kind of appreciation: ‘There is / no hurry // in / that angel’s // exercise.’ Nor in these lines, this poetry.”—Steve Lautermilch
“Laverne Frith’s vivid and thoughtful collection of poems, Imagining the Self, is grounded in the art of living. Much like the haiku poets, Frith reads our emotional lives through the natural world and captures moments of insight. Immensely well crafted and shaped by art, nature, human relationships, and happenstance, the poems unfold effortlessly. They are in equal measure brave and gentle, facing up to the imperfections in our lives and finding in them points of illumination…This is a beautiful collection that will nourish the creativity and emotional sensitivity of its readers.”—Judy Halebsky
Laverne Frith is co-editor of Ekphrasis, the premier journal of ekphrastic poetry in which each poem focuses on a single work of art. For the past fifteen years he has been a monthly poetry columnist for the widely circulated Senior Magazine. Laverne has chapbooks from Talent House, White Heron Press, two chapbooks from Finishing Line Press—Drinking the Light and The Range of Seeing—both of which were nominated for The Commonwealth Club of California’s California Book Awards, and another chapbook, Celebrations: Images and Texts (Rattlesnake Press, 2009), which features Frith’s photography as well as his poetry. Laverne was runner-up for the 2004, 2005, & 2006 Louisiana Literature Prize in Poetry. His poetry has been accepted or appeared in Poetry New York, Christian Science Monitor, Sundog, The Comstock Review, Montserrat, California Quarterly, Dalhousie, Common Ground Review, Blue Unicorn, Maryland Poetry Review, Permafrost, and numerous other publications. He has a Pushcart Prize nomination and honors and awards in many poetry competitions. He is a two-time Grand Prize winner in the annual and well-respected Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry competitions. His poetry has been choreographed and performed at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. He and his wife, Carol, authors of Practical Poetry—A Guide for Poets, have presented many workshops on poetry subjects over the years.
ISBN: 978-1936370276, 92 pages, $18.00