Book Three 2012: Pitch by Todd Boss

So, I finished another book toward my thirtieth year goal to read ten books, A Double Life by Lisa Catherine Harper, but I just started Bring Down the Little Birds by Carmen Gimenez Smith, and I think it’ll be fun to blog about those two together, since they are both on mothering.  Instead, let me tell you about Pitch, the second collection of poems by Todd Boss.

I love Todd’s work.  There are not many poets paying as close attention to the music of poetry as Todd. Because I have so much fun reading his poems, it seems clear to me that he had to have had a blast writing them.  They are tight, twisting, leaping little things, short lines jammed and enjambed with rhythms that drive you through the poems and straight on through the book.  There’s nothing laborious about this collection – every page makes me want to find out what fun Todd is going to have in the next piece.

This is not to say that the poems are all sunshine and butterflies; Todd’s subject matter is deeply felt, familial poems, subjects familiar to any reader who has ever had a father or mother, or been a father or mother, or had a childhood, or bore a child.  They ricochet off each other like marbles, as in “Marble Tumble Toys,” and they consider the commonplace right alongside the cosmos, as in “Lordship.”  There are really too many good and lively poems that seem to be jumping on a trampolene to cite them all here.  In fact, I think I’ll leave you with the words of Robert Root, whose endorsement I just discovered on the inner jacket of the book:

“A poem by Todd Boss will often delight me, amuse me, stir me, surprise me, and startle me. All that from a single poem, from almost any poem. What seems to promise something commonplace ends up offering something profound, an unexpected insight in the slightest turn of phrase.”

There it is. I aspire to that kind of writing. For me, a great collection of poems makes me want to try to write great poetry, compels me to my computer or my notebook or the back of a random receipt.  Like a wild-haired conductor, Todd’s work spurs along the desire to draft my own music. 

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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