Saturday, March 28, 2009

News of the World and The Company of Horses by Peter Fallon

Poetry lovers all over Central Texas look forward to the annual Beall Poetry Festival at Baylor University -- a really special treat. Some of the foremost poets in America attend every year for readings, lectures, and panel discussions. This year’s class included Peter Fallon, the well-known Irish poet, C.D. Wright, David Lehman, and Donald Hall.

The festival always presents a great opportunity for signed editions, which I took full advantage of this year. Peter Fallon’s work is my favorite so far, and I am looking forward to readings by Donald Hall on Saturday, March 28th.

These two slim volumes contain some of the sparest, most compact poetry I have read in a long while. Many of the poems deal with nature – Fallon spent many years as a shepherd – while some others describe some ordinary events and observations. For example, “Gravities” from “News”:

“A ewe moves northward
to a gate, her lambs in tow.
Another follows and again
the night’s migration

is begun. Thin lines of sheep
approach a slope, the frantic calls
resume, the mothers’ for lambs,
the lambs’ for milk.

And I’ve known men
tell weather by this moment. (31)

From The Company of Horses, a brief elegy for Michael Hartnett (1941-1999):

End of sureness
end of doubt –

when the darkness
like a light
went out. (50)

We have already gone onto Amazon and his website to add to our collection. These neat, sweet, and petite collections belong in every poetry lover’s library. 5 stars

--Chiron, 3/28/09

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