Not Just A Few Short Lines

Review by Joe Napora


A Few Short Lines by Sherry Reniker and Karl Young, Word Press, 1993, ISBN: 0-87924-074-1, Noborito 318, #2B / Kawasaki, Tama-ku / 214 Japan



This beautifully produced but modest book of poems, containing Sherry Reniker's "Vanishing Peace, selected poems 1982-1992 and Karl Young's "What To Whisper Until It Rains," short poems 1963-72, is a treasure. It is a treasure not only because it is rare to find such consistently fine poems in a time of so many instantly forgettable collections of poetry, but it is a rare book because neither of these poets is well known. Both deserve to be. Both poets share a deep, perhaps mystical, appreciation for language as a physical development of the poetic impulse. Reniker comes out of her study of Japanese; Young's poetry seems formed by his years of work in the printer's trade. Both poets treat the poetic word with reverence backed by the knowledge of how space informs the sound we make of the printed word. Each poem becomes a self-contained sound portrait that is also a visual record of the spirit made "flesh." A poem by Reniker, then Young:



Must We?




save an

eco / ego





"no need

for humans

to survive!"







blades plow

ice knives

and next year

the blade's incision

breaks unmulched straw



and I will not strike back

some things must not grow