Choose a barstool, order a merlot or two, be easy, talk small invites the speaker in Robert Martens’ new collection, finding home. Whether in a bar or coffeeshop or teahouse, these poems are not small, and contain hazardous material–remembrance, witness, social and political commentary, the economy, the natural world, philosophy, and eternity (or is it entropy?) with echoes of Leonard Cohen’s later work and Patrick Friesen’s Songen. From lyric, to the meter of song lyrics, in free verse, prose, and long poem form, Martens’ range is deep and wide in this dark and luminous volume. Pour me another. ~ Connie T. Braun, author, Silentium and other Reflections on Memory, Sorrow, Place and the Sacred
This nine-part poetry collection slips from past into present while touching down, feather-quiet, in Ukraine, St. Petersburg, Greece, Ireland, and Montana to gather poems before returning, repeatedly, to the poet’s Fraser Valley home, where, walking the dyke, around a blue lake, or over a beer, while sipping a whisky, or drinking a dark cup of coffee, he sets down the words. Poems are the transport with which Martens revisits the Holodomor, Holocaust, the Bolshevik Revolution, his global travels, the meaning of life, and the pandemic of 2019. An eavesdropper and participant /observer, Martens gathers insights from ordinary people: a chatty bartender, a bearded man on a bicycle, a beautiful, blonde, brilliant liquor store clerk, a bar or cafe patron, and more. Follow his lead; listen and learn, then let the poems carry you home. ~ Elsie K Neufeld is a poet, eulogist, and personal historian who has mid-wifed twenty books into being, most recently Mott Electric: Our People. Our Stories.
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