>Wake Wake Wake, by Valerie Nieman

>It’s still poetry month and this weekend I read Valerie Nieman’s Wake Wake Wake. When I first saw the title I liked it–the repetition of the short, strong word sounds like a chant, or a command. It was only as I began reading the third section of the book (of three) that I understood (I hadn’t looked at the table of contents) that the title invokes three meanings of the word “wake” and that the poems in the three sections are organized around the three meanings. Brilliant!

In the first section (What Has Passed), the poems address history: immigration, grandparents, the family farm. But there’s also a feeling of the passage of time. The second section (Watch by Night) deals with death. The third section (Stir Up, as Passions, or Evoke, as an Echo), deals with life. What a wonderful way to encompass all of existence. From the third section, read “Adam and Eve as Fire and Water” in Blackbird.

Wake Wake Wake is available from Press 53.

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