Review Of Stephen B. Wileys First Book Of Poetry: HERO ISLAND

Poet Stephen B. Wiley's first book of poetry, Hero Island, reflects tender snapshots and reminiscent overviews of various stages of his life as a youngster working on a farm in New Jersey, summer vacations spent with his family in Northern Vermont, and his positive stance on life.

His elegant command of language magically explores and brings to life such varied topics as the shovel we are reluctant to part with, city living, opening up of the summer cottage, shucking corn, Albert Einstein and world federation, and the more weighty experience as the death of a loved one. All are composed with a great deal of introspection and with a sincere palette of words that are easily accessible to even the inexperienced poetry reader.

Particularly touching and one that struck home is "Going," where Wiley portrays the passing away of his ninety-four year old father-something I personally just recently experienced with the passing away of my father-in-law. The ending of the poem's unadorned spoken language poignantly describes his inner feelings:

"I knew father wouldn't die
I bent over his bed though
and we embraced with a kiss
as he was going."

Above all, Wiley's strength lies in that his poems are characterized by a sense of wonder and nostalgia with which he imbues his reflections, that is neither sad nor frustrated, as is often the case with so many poets. Moreover, descriptions are effortless and fresh, reverberating with vitality, as exemplified in the first two stanzas of his poem To My Hands:

"Yes, yes I do admire your solo work
how you throw a ball
write your name
tip you hat

And I'm proud that things are named for you
giving a helping hand
handing down your outgrown clothes
even handing over something you shouldn't have"

Quite noteworthy is Wiley's remarkable skill with language, perhaps attributable to his legal training. When I interviewed him and asked him how had this affected his poetry writing, his succinct reply was "words are the subject matter of law ? spoken words and written words ? and precision of language is most important. Poetry draws on the same strengths." That just about sums up the poetic style of Stephen B. Wiley.

Although, I must admit that I initially opened Wiley's book of poems with some trepidation, my only grumble, when reaching the last poem, was that I did not have enough of it. It is my hope that Hero Island only marks the inauguration of a long and creative career.

Norm Goldman is the Editor of the Book Reviewing site http://www.bookpleasures.com and the travel site, http://www.sketchandtravel.com

Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, they meld words with art focusing on romantic and wedding destinations.

In The News:


Poetry a great place to get lost, forget yourself
The Coloradoan
“The Disappearing Cowboy Trick” is the intriguing title of Fort Collins author Kristin Abraham's latest book of poetry. Do cowboys really disappear? No, this is merely her clever title melding cowboy folklore with the carnival. Abraham said most of her ...


Poetry can be an early form of artistic response to trauma
STLtoday.com
During the Ferguson protests, Poets.org documented a surge of interest in Langston Hughes' “Let America Be America Again.” “We've had 13,000 people read “Let America Be America Again” since Aug. 9 — so in the past 10 days,” emailed Jennifer Benka, ...

and more »

Vancouver Sun

Renowned Vancouver slam poet dead at 36
Vancouver Sun
Zaccheus Jackson, a nationally known and locally loved spoken word poet from Vancouver, has died. He was 36. Jackson was in Toronto, where he was scheduled to perform at the International Poetry Slam. Toronto police confirmed Friday that Jackson was ...
Vancouver poet Zaccheus Jackson's death by train in Toronto 'an absolute tragedy'Toronto Star

all 4 news articles »

American Life in Poetry: August 30
Ames Tribune
Poem reprinted from the Alaska Quarterly Review, Vol. 30, No. 3 & 4, by permission of Faith Shearin and the publisher. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-06.
AMERICAN LIFE IN POETRY: 'Each errand was accompanied by some kind of ...MyWebTimes.com

all 2 news articles »

Paper boats — bits of 'poetry' and protest — head downriver
Albany Times Union
She was among the organizers of the paper-boat project, called SeaChange: We All Live Downstream. But, Prasad said, "What we're really interested in as activists and artists is the poetry of the paper boat. ... If we apply our resistance layer by layer ...


Wild Style roots, spoken-word poetry, and some creepy Cliff Martinez tunes
A.V. Club Denver/Boulder
Spoken-word poetry. You still with me? Because even if you have a raging aversion to wannabe Ginsbergs and Bukowskis spouting open-mic-spawned doggerel, there's something special about Charly Fasano. As a poet, he's been publishing his downbeat, ...

and more »

Towns Embrace Poet Laureates
Hartford Courant
Art, as one of its advocates in Connecticut puts it, is at the heart of every community. With this in mind, the handful of local poet laureates in the state are hoping to build on a recent expansion in their ranks. At the start of the year, only three ...

and more »

Vancouver Sun

Renowned spoken-word poet dead at 36
Vancouver Sun
Zaccheus Jackson, a nationally known and locally loved spoken word poet from Vancouver, has died. He was 36. Jackson was in Toronto, where he was scheduled to perform at the International Poetry Slam. Toronto police confirmed Friday that Jackson was ...


WJLA

National Book Festival features poetry slam, books made into movies, top chefs
WJLA
This year's festival includes a poetry slam, a discussion about books that have been made into movies and live cooking demonstrations from some top chefs. Pavilions for various reading subjects will feature more than 100 authors and illustrators. The ...
National Book FestivalMetro Weekly

all 39 news articles »

The Guardian (blog)

Desmond O'Grady – a great citizen of world poetry
The Guardian (blog)
There is a scene in Fellini's La Dolce Vita, the fourth night episode, in which a group of intellectuals sit around reading poetry and looking suitably serious. One of them is an Irish poet, a part played by an actual Irish poet, Desmond O'Grady, who ...

Google News

Ode to: The Ice Maiden of Ampatos Summit [now in: English and Spanish]

Dedcate to Antonio Castillo. L. Of. Los Andes UniversitarioOde to:The... Read More

It Was Not Me

It was not me as I am now. It was... Read More

You Lost Your Last Gamble and Me

I will never think twice nor will I roll the... Read More

Two Poems: Boyhood, and Old Age [with a note on style]

BoyhoodOh me! Thy glorious days have flown! I mealy noticed,... Read More

New Poetic Work By Ethiopian Immigrant Promotes Respect, Courage And Cultural Sensitivity

McLean, VA - "The Healing Conscious" tells the story of... Read More

Testimony to the Night [In English and Spanish]

In the quiet of the arctic night- In its deep... Read More

The Ballad of: Brawling Mad-dog Sergeant Rook [Now in: SPANISH and English]

English VersionA bunch of us guys in the hutIn ?Nam... Read More

My Grannio

I never thought I would have to say GOODBYE to... Read More

Mother, I Dont Mind The Pain

I am among those who know that one never recovers... Read More

Looking Out the Rear Window

The funeral rite concluded With the pastor shaking hands, Offering... Read More

Caught in the Arms of ED

YOU MIGHT THINK I AM STRONGI THINK YOU GOT IT... Read More

Lord Byrons She Walks in Beauty

Lord Byron's opening couplet to "She Walks In Beauty" is... Read More

Arizona Blue--Gunfighter: The Wolves Nest [Chapter One of Seven: The North]

[Episode Five]Arizona Blue-GunfighterThe Wolves Nest-in the North[Episode Five]Northern Minnesota Area?Winter... Read More

Poetry and Popular Culture

Is poetry too complicated for the average reader? Is it... Read More

Antidotes for an Alibi

Amy King's first full-length collection, Antidotes for an Alibi, insists... Read More

Commuting Hell!

It's dark, it's cold, its' just six thirty,thoughts of sleep... Read More

Review Of Stephen B. Wileys First Book Of Poetry: HERO ISLAND

Poet Stephen B. Wiley's first book of poetry, Hero Island,... Read More

Africa - Wheres The Profit?

A poetic comment that just welled up inside my head... Read More

The Game of Life

When your life becomes unbearable And the light of... Read More

In Poetry: Meaning of Words [And ...Rocket-belt]

In Poetry: Meaning of WordsWhen I write poetry, I check... Read More

Wondering

How I wonder what he's doing as I sit alone... Read More

Three Sweet Poems, and Two Not So Sweet [now in: SPANISH and English]

1) End PoemWherever you are today- Is where you were... Read More

The Lull of Twilight [Over Mantaro Valley] In English and Spanish

Twilight, was now beginning. As forthe sun, it was down-down... Read More

Its What She Didnt Say

When I hear your voice inside my head it makes... Read More

Publishing Your Poetry

If you are serious about seeing your work published by... Read More