Publisher: Gazelle Book Services (August 9, 2010)
Review by: Sandra Davidson
It is a superstition of mine: I never read the back cover, the blurbs of praise or the author’s bio until the book is read. A quite similar ritual is performed with movies.
With poetry, I often start with the last poem first so I do not know the sections or chapters, or titles of poems until I meet them.
Eric Greinke’s “Traveling Music” gave me deep pause at page 78 with ‘The Accident’. The words open in on action of a common domestic scene, using children as an ultimate and desperate bargaining tool. If you’re clenching your jaw by the last word of the third, your jaw is bound to be slack at the start of the fourth and onto the end of the poem.
Greinke is paddling into the middle of his sixth decade. Some of the work is going to be reflective and backward-looking. I would hope so. The difference I found in his hindsight is he sees the reflection of his past in the light of a forward-looking window.
Too, his words of self-recrimination are not lashes to his hide; instead he joins the suffering hearts who knew what could be done and what wasn’t, as with ‘Expressway Death’ and eerie threat in ‘Apparition’. Between dustless white pages I am with him at a ‘Visitation’. Though we cross the threshold twice, it isn’t we who are doing the visiting.
These are poems to carry me to a wiser place as in ‘Kayak Lessons’, which is spoken as if to a young man in a sporting goods store, a young man who maybe didn’t ask for two bits of a stranger’s opinion, and then hears experience instead of advice.
You can buy the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Music-Eric-Greinke/dp/0980008190
-Sandra Davidson is the Fiction Editor of The Fox Chase Review