April is, as I’m sure you had absolutely no idea, National Poetry Month. In honor of that designation, I am filling my “book review slot” with a review of a book of poems called Green and Dying by one of my multi-talented friends, Teri Foltz.
Teri is an award winning playwright and former English teacher (the one you wish you had,) and all around awesome person. What makes her poetry stand out is that it is not dense and incomprehensible. You don’t need to know obscure references about Scottish history to understand it. Her words are all familiar and deceptively simple.
The title, “Green and Dying” refers to a line in one of her poems – it talks about beginnings and endings, as do many of the poems in this book. It is not nearly as “emo” (as my 14 year old daughter would say) as you may think. It is poignant, it is witty, and it is intelligent, but never maudlin or melodramatic.
Ever the English teacher, Teri explains what she is doing. You not only learn from the content of her poems, but from the notes she gives you.
What I like most about her writing is how accessible it is. You might, in fact, be lulled into complacency by her comprehensible sentences and relatable stories. But then the end of each poem punches you in the face in some way or another that you didn’t see coming. It makes me think of the Emily Dickinson quote, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Teri’s work is poetry by that or any other definition.
I thought about quoting some of the more powerful lines, but they either didn’t make sense out of context, or ruined the surprise, and I don’t want to take away from the experience for you with spoilers. I’ll give you this one, which resonates with me, but probably won’t make any sense without the beginning of the poem: “Thinking is a chore today./Today I clean.”
For more information, click the handy-dandy Amazon link below.