J.R. Solonche’s new poetry collection, A Guide of the Perplexed, is his 20th to date and his third from Serving House Books. If you are perplexed when it comes to poetry, as many of us are, then here is your ideal guide to the richness of poetry as only Solonche can serve it up: wit, word-play, insight, artistry akin to magic, the transformation of philosophical treatises into Zen koans, all of which are, in the words of Kirkus Reviews, “sympathetic but never sentimental.”
About the Author
J.R. Solonche is the author of nineteen books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.
J.R. Solonche can pack so much humor and linguistic playfulness into such tight bundles, it feels like 1,000 clowns issuing from a VW Bug. He can also fit a lot of darkness and mortality into them, which feels more like 1,000 clowns dressed like Marilyn Mason issuing from a VW Bug. Solonche can be crass the way only the truthful can be, mischievous as a child with his hands in the honey jar, or even aphoristic and proverbial like a modern day Martial. Though you never know which Solonche you’re going to encounter on the next page, he’s a great bunch of guys to get to know.
— Stephen Cramer is the winner of the Louise Bogan Award and the National Poetry Series
The history of book blurbs is littered with high falutin’ praise, whacky and wild metaphors, written to impress not to inform. All I need to say about J.R. Solonche’s poems is that they are good, really, really good. So much so that they have a high “I-wish-I’d-written-that” factor. That’s a compliment I hand out to very few poets writing today. You want wit? You want humor? You want erudition? You want them all mixed into poems? Try Solonche. You won’t be disappointed. Envious perhaps, but not disappointed.
— John Murphy is editor of The Lake Contemporary Poetry Webzine
In a style that favors brevity and pith, J.R. Solonche brings a richness of experience, observation, and wit into his poems. Here is the world! they exclaim. And here and here and here! Watched over by ancient lyric gods – Time, Death, and Desire— we find the quotidian here transformed.
— Christopher Nelson is editor of Green Linden Press
Sample one by one these epigrammatic, epiphenomenal, Epicurean episodes as if they were puffs from a tower of pastry. Savor the zest of lemon, the pinch of sea salt, the dollop of crème fraiche, and the absence of any more sugar than necessary to ease the ingestion of truth. A feast for fanatics of language and lovers of pith. I’m not sure what pith is, but I know it when I see it.
— Sarah White is author most recently of Iridescent Guest
The best feature of Solonche’s poetry is its diversity. Everyone who encounters this volume (including the postman who delivers it to you) will find something in it to understand and remember—and a great deal to enjoy.
— Tony Beyer is author of Anchor Stone, finalist for the New Zealand Book Award.
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