Wednesday, July 28, 2010


About me: I am from the Pacific Northwest.  I teach writing.  I play fiddle and banjo.  I have a cat, whose photograph you see to your right.

I am the father of two daughters, a two- and a four-year-old.  Maybe because of that this poem caught my attention recently:

He was so beautiful at four I scarce could look
At him without a kind of squeezing of
My heart, a tugging and a throbbing that took
My breath away, and though we call this love,
I cannot name it that, for so debased
A word cannot approach the flood
Of feeling he awoke in me or taste
The savage surging crisis in my blood.
A child to hold is unlike any other
Investment we can make. A heart grown hoarse
With care is found generally in the mother,
But fathers also yield to nature’s force
And feel their hearts torn open and exposed,
More hostage to this care than they supposed.
"Fathers", Robert Daseler

I don't own Daseler's 1998 book, Levering Avenue, and so can't review it properly (not that it is "new", but this blog is just getting started).  From the poems I did read, though, I can say I love Daseler's sonnets, and not just because they are sonnets.  It takes guts to write in a form so constrained and weighed down by tradition, but it takes skill to do it well.  The verses are creative, too, another plus when writing in a traditional form, and Daseler keeps the language sounding natural, not stilted, and keeps the rhymes interesting as well: "ideas" with "azaleas", "practice" with "cactus".  He uses the sonnet like John Donne used it: for contemplating deeply (as opposed to its other established uses--wooing and pining).  It is a shame that, so far as I can tell, Daseler hasn't written any more recently.

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