Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Antrim House; First edition (April 10, 2013)
Review by: g emil reutter
Tom Mallouk is a quiet poet. He observes not only the obvious, represented as the external, but one senses the internal workings of the poet himself. In the organized chaos of nature along the sea, Mallouk provides the calm with melodic words and images, as only one who observes can do, evidenced in the themes of his well-crafted poems.
He brings us into the title poem, Nantucket Revisited, in the first stanza with the familiar:
I’ve wobbled through sandy ruts to the edge
of the bluff, this rusted bike tipped on my hip.
The Ocean luffs like gray-green sheets and I see
the light green of a sand bar and the darker green
of the trough between the bar and the breakers.
Mallouk blends the calmness of the beach with the swells and breaking waves of the ocean. In the poem Settled Surf:
Restful sleep. Dream of spontaneous
Remission of auto-immune disease.
Bright sunshine at the beach.
Surf settled, ocean welcoming. Plovers
peck in the sudsy edge of the tide-line
Parents lounge in beach chairs, lost
in books or conversation. Dark heads
of seals bob above the glint of swells
well beyond the breakers.
What would a collection of poems about the sea be without a fish story? Mallouk writes of his big fish in Savor. He writes of battling the rain and sea spray with a rented rod of questionable quality and a rusted reel. Mallouk hooks a striped bass, and despite the battle between fish and man, pulls the fish in, drags it onto the beach and it is a big fish, a fish bigger than his German shepherd. He captures the weather conditions, battle of the fisherman, and of course the big fish. But this big fish poem is real, he provides a photograph of himself holding the defeated striped bass up next to his dog. The only striped bass he would ever snag.
-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa..