A selection of delightful poems - moving, thoughtful, sometimes irreverent... It picks out moments of sorrow, of joy, or contemplates life's surprising diversity and subtle shadings. Each poem in TANGENTS opens a different window on a moment in time and the gifts it brings us.
Review by Joan Colby*
This first collection of poems by Rose Mary Boehm exhibits a voice that is frank, congenial and compassionate. There’s nothing artificial or affected in these inviting poems.
Boehm has a knack for capturing the riveting phrase. In Tangents: “You paint my black a darker shade of bright.” Abundance: “a fish-eye vision of a face my mother chose to use when she was here.” Miss Worthington: “winter’s crystal hands…brittled her resolve.” Good Friday in Spain: “anonymous faith hides under hood and robe.”
Barcelona Nineteensixtyone is a poignant exploration of youthful innocence, the lust for adventure and enduring friendship. Absence reveals dementia as “her ears tuned to broadcasts from distant nebulae.” Beginnings examines a mother’s torment in leaving her toddler at pre-school, a subject Boehm addresses uncloyingly, seeing the child’s first attempt at printing as “letters that need crutches.” In Where You Are Not a woman missing her lover says, “The toothbrush in its beaker/can’t cheat me into thinking/you’ll be home tonight.” Deep Frozen traces the advent of “goldfish dizzied in a new pond” to the final reckoning of “small orange stains” in a block of ice.
The poems written in an intense and confrontational voice: You Took Off and Know What? are wrenching.
Boehm selects unique verbs to power her poetry. She speaks from the heart and her poems move the reader accordingly.
*Joan Colby has been the editor of Illinois Racing News, a monthly publication for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, published by Midwest Outdoors LLC, for over 25 years. She lives with her husband and assorted animals on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has three grown children and six grandchildren.
Review by Jimmy Pappas*
I'm always impressed by how many wonderful poets are out there who are not yet famous. Rose is one of them.
Jimmy Pappas has an MA in English literature and a BA in English with a minor in education.
He served in Vietnam in 1970 for one year training South Vietnamese troops and teaching English as a second language. He is now writing my memoirs about that time.
In his own words:
I am a retired high school English, philosophy, and poetry writing teacher. I published many collections of student poems at my school. The highlight of my teaching career was an ' Introduction to Philosophy' class, something rarely taught at that level. And what an experience that was. Students were given a chance to express themselves about controversial issues. It was a blast.
Review by Wayne
Many poets publish their first book when they are young. Rose Mary Boehm waited, up to other things earlier no doubt. And how good it is she waited. There is a tender and sometimes a sly approach to our experiences on this wobbly planet where we were lucky to be born and live on briefly. She is very much a modernist in terms of her writing style, and many of the images are startling and often wonderful. She tells us that these poems were written in Spain and Peru, and for me this exotic element adds a vibrant colour to this lovely little book. And she addresses both happy and unhappy things as poets are expected to do.
Review by Robert Strickland*
There are some really pleasant poems in this collection by my friend Rose. She delves into all manner of life experiences here, and makes us think about them in ways we haven't before, with eye-catching images, odd combinations, and effective brevity. Here's an example; in the light of recent weather tragedies, this little picture of of the line between mental stability and instability catches our attention. Notice the provocative ending and its multiple levels of meaning and innuendo:
Clarissa On The Roof
Clarissa on the roof
holds on to the lightning rod.
People take her in their stride.
After all, the villagers have seen it coming.
"It started when her mum
locked herself in
and painted tsunamis."
"Yeah, and then her dad
built a boat in the living room."
"They had to take out the wall
to move it!"
Clarissa above the flood waters
waits to be picked up.
She also reveals the many layered implications of saying goodbye, as in this excerpt from Farewell:
A soundless voice
demands swift separation.
The deal was signed in liquid love
right at the birth of time.
An ebony sarcophagus, transparent
to its only occupant
light-speeds through an expanse
of brilliant black.
And of course, there is lost love. But true to form, Boehm takes a unique angle into the subject and shows us things about it that we have either not seen, or have forgotten and need to remember. Her use of strange and beguiling images is effective in this regard. Here is an excerpt from Know what?:
At night I think of you,
and the blue spiders
of the early morning hours
crawl all over me.
I sent you packing,
told you to piss off.
You thought that's what I really wanted.
You always thought
you knew what I wanted.
So, pick up this little collection. It's a nice way to spend a Sunday morning with your maple-flavored cup of coffee.
*Robert Strickland is a bassist, composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and poet. His family hails from the American Deep South, with originally English and Dutch roots. Splitting his time between Colorado and Florida, he pursues his interest in the intersection of poetry, music, photography, painting and other art forms.