Reviews - What do customers think about The Zen Garden?
Muscular Narratives, Deeply Moving Poems Mar 3, 2006
This is David Dooley's third collection of poems. His first two were published by Story Line Press, and prepared us for a poet whose multitude of voices, whose muscular narratives, "energetic, often long-lined and propulsive, with a headlong compelling rhythm," are simply not, as Donald Hall put it, "like anybody else's." Dooley's The Zen Garden, winner of WordTech Editions' Yellowglenn Prize for 2004, gives us additional reason to understand why Helen Vendler said on NPR that Dooley is "one of the best new poets I've come across in a long time."
The epigraph for this welcome edition is from Thich Nhat Hanh's The Miracle of Mindfulness: "We are only alive when we live the life of the world, and so live the sufferings and joys of others." The poems of this collection, which often push the boundaries between poetry and prose, offer a series of glimpses into a wide variety of human experiences. From the muted grieving of the title poem and "The Crystal" to the hilarity of "During the Rosary," many of the poems deal with death and its effect on the living. It is Dooley's muted tone, however, that makes these poems so moving. The enlightenments offered here are quiet ones, and yet with these poems we experience a mind at work that never shies from the heat and chill of our lives.
This is a haunting, deeply moving collection that deserves far more recognition and a much larger readership than the average small press collection of poetry normally engenders.