Few books could match the tenor of 2020 greater than award-winning poet Pat Stanford’s aptly titled “A Motley Miscellany: Misfit Poems That Match Collectively” (DocUmeant Publishing, 2020).
Organized into 5 components, the poetry spans occasions, moods, locations, and folks. However her assortment does greater than match the temper of the occasions; it’s a celebration of the various paths poetry can take to seize our lived experiences.
Stanford’s traces carry whimsy, humor, seriousness, and reflection. Her admirable vulnerability provides readers uncommon home windows into private experiences, from faculty life to up to date occasions, glimpses into previous generations via the phrases of her mom, and literal treats that may be served up at household dinners and gatherings.
The gathering begins with 28 diverse poems written in the course of the (ongoing) pandemic, however fortuitously for us, launched from quarantine as “Poems Penned in a Pandemic.” We’re handled to a full vary of ideas, reflections, and observations induced by quarantine, pressured and unforced.
We’ll nod our heads knowingly as Stanford describes her “COVID Journey” into an area grocery retailer. A couple of reader in North Florida will chuckle at these opening traces to a Haiku that begins, “Hey COVID-19? / It’s not you making me cough / it’s the pollen.”
Stanford additionally isn’t afraid to veer into extra reflective areas with poems considering the non secular via meditations on how the Pandemic coaxes us to consider conventional holidays akin to Good Friday, Palm Sunday, or Tenebrae.
The second clutch — 40 poems in all! — are the true Motley Miscellany, lyrics to songs Stanford wrote however by no means sang publicly or recorded. They cowl subjects far and huge, together with faculty life, a poignant meditation on the demise of John Lennon in 1980, overcoming the resistance to dancing with males carrying earrings, and a lament on the destiny of Poets of Massive Bend. These all for Tallahassee popular culture will discover various choices, together with an homage to haute delicacies at Chez Pierre.
We then get the uncommon deal with of studying from the supply of Stanford’s poetic reward: her mom. A sequence of 15 quick poems written between 1926 and 1946 takes us from the innocence and surprise of a ten 12 months outdated to a mature girl who can replicate “I see my Love within the glory / of the sundown within the sky; / I see my Love in all the things, / which lifts my coronary heart on excessive.”
The ultimate part is, the truth is, the literal literary feast! Enjoyable, whimsical, and sensible, the part contains 22 poems and cooking recipes from many authors well-known in Florida’s literary world.
A former president of the Tallahassee Writers Affiliation and present president of the Florida Authors and Publishers Affiliation, Stanford drew on her in depth community to create a wholly new style of literature: Pietry. “What’s pietry, you ask?” Effectively, it boils all the way down to a merely formulation: Pie + Poetry = Pietry.
Various Tallahassee writers and editors made the reduce, together with Zelle Andrews, Elizabeth Babski, Melanie Barton Bragg, Dee Christensen II, Gina Edwards, Lyla Ellzey, Saundra G. Kelley, and Judy Ray.
Many of the contributors on this part are usually not poets. Not surprisingly, their poetic type varies significantly. The recipes, nevertheless, greater than make up for what their poems would possibly lack in polish.
Maybe becoming for the season, Stanford’s latest literary contribution has achieved a useful service for the world of arts and tradition: She has democratized poetry.
Pat Stanford is prone to rating extra medals with “A Motley Miscellany.”
Her assortment of poems and different contributions is ample testimony to the creativity lurking behind closed doorways and fences throughout these unsure occasions. Extra importantly, she has created an eclectic window into life, household, unstable occasions, and the previous that may endure far past the pandemic.
Sam Staley is an award-winning creator of fiction and non-fiction, and a member of the Tallahassee Writers Affiliation.
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