Monday, January 29, 2018

"Swinging on a Star" by David Trinidad (Turtle Point Press)

ISBN: 978-1-933527-97-0 Turtle Point Press

A small book that's gives out big awards. David Trinidad's book of poems "Swinging on a Star" is perfection at work. A poet who always keeps his vision and language in an exceptional form. I think I'm around the same age as Trinidad, and the pop cultural references that are in his poetry fits my or our generation greatly. For anyone outside that world, the poems are inviting and will bring new discoveries to the new reader. For me, it's like dipping into a pool of great pleasure. Some of the poems are simple imagery, and others are like biting into a ripe fruit and enjoying its freshness and the different textures that come with the taste of that first bite. 

It's always dangerous to compare one poet to another, but I think anyone who enjoys the work of the so-called New York School of Poetry such as Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, James Schulyer, Kenneth Koch, and Barbara Guest would appreciate David Trinidad's poetry. I mention the above poets because they too filter pop culture within their work, which brings their world a larger landscape for the reader. The longest piece here is one of Trinidad's greatest poems: "Ode to Buddy Holly." Here he writes about the visit to Holly's hometown, and where is he is buried, Lubbock Texas. For me, who loves Holly's music, this is an incredible impression of the man, his burial grounds, home, and the nature of his death through the means of a plane accident. It's a moving poem that works on various levels. For one, Trinidad is a good reporter (through poetry) and how he recounts his time at the location, and how poetry brought him there, is him coming to a meeting with Buddy Holly as a fellow artist. The greatest gift from one artist to another is an appreciation and how that person's work sinks into the other's
poetry. 

"Swinging on a Star" is another fantastic book by one of the great American living poets. Also a nod of my hat to Turtle Point Press who has a history of publishing great books.

* I intereviewed David Trinidad on my cable TV show from the 1980s "Tea With Tosh"  You can see it here:  https://youtu.be/6EWTDIG-zoE

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