Greg Watson and Emilio DeGrazia read from their poetry
09/10/2012 7:00 pm
Two Minnesota poets observe life in the the Upper Midwest.
In What Music Remains, his latest collection of poems, Greg Watson
explores the land of road trips and family memories, libraries and
coffee shops, love and miscommunication, giving voice to melancholy
reflections and capturing brief moments of beauty and insight with an
unique turn of phrase. An atmosphere of exquisite loss hang over many of
these lyrics (“All desire must end this way--words, words / burning like the gutted remains of a city without name.”),
but the unhurried rhythms of the lines themselves and the clarity of
the images he places before us, allow Watson the sidestep any hint of
self-pity or bathos.
Connolly calls Watson’s work “sympathetic poems, romantic, kind and
brave poems….” And Tim Nolan observes that Watson’s poems “begin in the
domestic usual and end up somewhere else--the universal extraordinary.”
Greg Watson's work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Seattle Review, Sulphur River Literary Review, and Poetry East. His earlier poetry collections are Pale Light from a Distant Room, Things You Will Never See Again, and The Distance Between Two Hands. He lives in Saint Paul.
has long written poetry of unusual liveliness, humor, and penetration
throughout a career largely dedicated to other pursuits: writing prose
works, editing, and working with students. Now the best of his poems,
hitherto widely scattered in literary journals, have been brought within
the covers of a book. Many of them reflect the author’s
Italian-American heritage and his Old World ties or offer seemingly
spontaneous responses to everyday occurrences--his son’s final at-bat at
a baseball game, a wedding, a visit to an old folk’s home, an
unexpected death in the family. There are playful love poems,
expressions of poignant sensitivity to the passing seasons, and
metaphysical reflections that can take us in a few lines from “the
firmament aswirl with iron-cored galaxies” to “a kitchen sizzling with
the fragrance of garlic in olive oil.” The language is often
conversational, which makes the uninhibited leaps of imagination that
much more surprising when they occur.
Emilio DeGrazia, a founding editor of Great River Review, has also co-edited (with his wife Monica) two anthologies, Twenty-Six Minnesota Writers and Thirty-Three Minnesota Poets. His novel Seventeen Grams of Soul received a Minnesota Book Award, and Enemy Country a Writer’s Choice Award. He recently published a memoir, Walking on Air in a Field of Dreams, about the Italian-American experience and his family’s connections with Italy. He lives in Winona, Minnesota.