BOOK REVIEW
 


 
2
6 pages,  $8 U.S.
Limited Edition
Cover Art: Joe Petolino


Small Change Series
Word Temple Press
Santa Rosa, California

To purchase this book contact: 
casoly@pacbell.net

 

Lost Pages of Bird Lore


This lovely, hand-made chapbook contains 22 poems by Mary-Marcia Casoly.  Each poem in the book considers, explicitly or implicitly, birds and flying.  The book begins with one of her signature poems, "Heron," which proffers the changeless, perpetual existence of a Heron, challenging notions of time and space.  Here are a few lines from the beginning of that poem.

  Magnificently old aged that blue heron
quick it stabs fish and tosses
fast food into his mouth
eye already to the next
keeping and unkeeping to a straight
line up the bed
just like all this happened
a long long time ago


Typical of the poetry of Mary-Marcia Casoly, the  poems in this collection often juxtapose the "real" world with a dream world, or maybe not so much a dream world as another dimension of thought, space and time.  Her poetry is multi-dimensional in the Einstein sense of the word, offering simultaneous realities, fluctuating through time zones,  combining concrete contemporary imagery with memory, with history, with enigma.

One charming aspect of her work, her sense of humor, is particularly evident in the book's title poem,  "Lost Pages of Bird Lore,"  a narrative about a parrot named "Willie" who saved persons from a gas leak in the Callahan parlors.  Playfully, the poem has a squawking chorus.
 

  To think what might have happened I might not have come out of the bathroom in
time but for Willie
                              SQUAWK!

I was over baby-sittingHannah and Willie wasn't behaving He was being such a
bad bird.
                              SQUAWK!

There's some story it might have saved some people's llves....
                              SQUAWK!



Evidently, Mary-Marcia is a poet who has fun with her work.  She plays with words, their sounds and meanings, relishing word games and double entendre.  But she can also switch tone from the humorous to the transcendent and supersensible as she does in this excerpt from the poem, "Sleep of (the) Morpheus."

 
  While flying long distances sea birds are constantly napping, closing one
eye at a time, allowing one side of the brain to sleep. Making the distance,
switching on the other, unconscious until touch down. Literally flying blind.
Sleep the color of direction. Its own determined pilgrimage. Wondrous
 


This is a small book, a hand-made chapbook, filled with fun and joy. It is a book worth the small change.



September 23, 2011
Mary Ann Sullivan