and other poems
James P. Breslin
and other poems
James P. Breslin
Jim Breslin's poems in The Crow are the real thing: emotionally honest, wonderfully well crafted; rhyme and meter expertly used, enviable, masterful and always telling. Adept in the repertoire of his craft's resources, his nature images always manage a vivid accuracy and arresting beauty. In many of the poems he displays a sharp and leavening wit. And he's a master of the short, telling poem. He knows how to use repetition and space meaningfully--"Depression" is one of the best examples of the concrete poem form I've ever seen. I am especially admiring of the concise and aphoristic feel of many of his lines, the economy of the language in general, the narrative strength shown in several of the poems. His "Waiting Room" is a terrific short-short story. And I loved the truth and irony and moments of poems like "Road Kill," the startling impact of "Last Dance." His "Elegy" is a prize. From the tragic to the comic, he's all there in these fine poems. If there's any complaint here, it's that Breslin hasn't published sooner.
TED BOOKEY--author of five books of poems: Mixty Motions, a book of translations from the German of Erich Kastner (in collaboration with his wife Ruth), Language as a Second Language, Lostalgia, and a full-length collection With a W/Hole in One. Ted’s poetry, criticism and reviews appear in many journals and anthologies. His plays have been produced off Broadway and in Maine.
I was born in Staten Island, New York, on July 8, 1943. I had a childhood that was fairly difficult but it no longer haunts me as it did. Many had it much harder. There was much drinking and fighting but an extended family softened its impact. I was brought up as a devout Catholic educated by nuns and Jesuits. I went to Xavier Military School to please my Father who had gone there. I hated it. I loved the Academics - the Latin and the Greek and the study of Religion especially when I was introduced to the latest research in Biblical Studies. I hated the Military regimen and the endless drills with orders barked by upperclassmen impressed by their own power. I loved to roam Greenwich Village during the Beat Era. Just to be free from Jesuits and priests I attended NYU and majored in Philosophy and Political Science. I have a wife of forty six years. It has not always been easy especially for her. People who know us both call her a saint. All long marriages have struggles and ours was severely tested when our son, J.B., died unexpectedly of a seizure. Many of my poems reflect that time and its aftermath. I have written poems all my life but after crushing rebuffs in my adolescence from the New Yorker, Poetry and The Atlantic I never tried to publish again until the last few years. One must have a tough skin to attempt to publish or even to allow knowledgeable critics to see your work. It took many years to submit my work to such scrutiny. I hope the reader will find something in them to like or with which to identify. In general the poems may seem dark and the humor at times macabre. But, I'm Irish after all and the Irish diminish the horror of death and suffering by laughing at it (Tim Finnegan's Wake). To write from a dark place helps one to transcend the darkness, if only briefly. I am a member of the Albion Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Many of the poems reflect my years of searching for the truth. Not all the characters in the poems reflect my own point of view but my many years of working with people in the field of Mental Health. Their sufferings often meshed with my own. Some are more personal. Tom Curly, the best literature teacher I ever had, introduced me to poetry in high school and to the works of my favorite poets - Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and George Herbert. My good friend Schuyler Brown began me on my life-long love affair with the Bible in high school.