The new poetry collection of poet Ken Gierke, who blogs at https://rivrvlogr.com/, is called Glass Awash. I wrote a review of it and hope it inspires you to buy a copy!
Ken Gierke’s debut poetry collection, Glass Awash (Spartan Press 2022), is about making art, connections between inhabitants of the planet, and the voices that attach and sustain us. These inhabitants can be human, animal, plant, or mineral. In the poem that titles the book, “Glass Awash,” a piece of glass is tumbled in the waves at the shore where it dries under the sun. Then, “From swaying reeds, / a red-wing remarks on / its beauty, soon consumed / / by a frost, a reminder / of each kiss found / in grains of sand.” In this case the connections seem to be between animal (bird), plant (reeds), and mineral (glass and sand). However, the human is implicit as it is the human who records the event.
These free verse poems are spare with a minimum of words so that the images are not cluttered with less important language. The poems protest against “[o]ur growing world of disconnect,” but notice the “invisible connections” within the natural world (“The Intent of Moonlight and Ethereal Synapses”). Although poems are titled “Words without Voice” and “Thoughts without Voice,” the struggle seems to be to bring voices into being. In “Other Voices,” the persona tries to find a stone at the water’s edge “that speaks to you,” and then the stone with other stones will also speak. These stones, much like the tumbled glass, speak to us only if we listen carefully.
Some of the poems within this collection are elegies for the poet’s mother during her final illness and after she is gone. These are beautiful and while still sparely constructed vibrate with love and loss. These are a few of my favorite lines: “Hidden / in the pockets of my mother’s dreams, / surrounded / by the accumulated lint / of a faded lifetime, are dusty memories / sharper / than this morning’s breakfast.” Gierke uses the uneven line lengths to give emphasis to certain words.
Because the poems are short and not great in number, you can read this book very quickly. But you will want to read it again and again to really explore meaning in this lovely collection.
You can purchase the book on Amazon. Here for the U.S.: https://www.amazon.com/Glass-Awash-Ken-Gierke/dp/1958182222/
Here for the UK: Glass Awash: Amazon.co.uk: Gierke, Ken: 9781958182222/
I presume it’s also available in Canada and other countries.
Ken Gierke is retired and has lived in Missouri since 2012, when he moved from Western New York, where the Niagara River fostered a love for nature. He writes primarily in free verse and haiku, often inspired by hiking and kayaking, while his fondness for love poetry may be explained by the fact that he moved to Missouri to be with the woman he eventually married. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming both in print and online in such places as Ekphrastic Review, Amethyst Review, Silver Birch Press, Trailer Park Quarterly and The Gasconade Review, and it has appeared in several print anthologies, including three from Vita Brevis Press and easing the edges, edited by d. ellis phelps. His first collection of poetry, Glass Awash, has been published by Spartan Press. His website: https://rivrvlogr.com/
Ken can be reached on Facebook. Ken Gierke | Facebook
He has video poetry at https://www.youtube.com/@kengierke