Dick Allen, Connecticut State Poet Laureate and Professor Emeritus at the University of Bridgeport, is one of our greatest living poets. He has taught me much, even though I never knew him while he taught at UB. His work continually astounds me. He has read for UB’s Lecture Series, Necessary Voices, and at hundreds of other venues across the state. He is devoted to the arts and serves enthusiastically as the state’s laureate.
I’m honored that he took a sneak peak at Reconnaissance (to be released officially in April by Homebound Publications). Here’s what he said:
Poem by poem, year by year, Amy Nawrocki’s work has expanded in reach and confidence. Its fruition is here in her new collection, Reconnaissance—a wonder of seeing, painting, photographing, eavesdropping, thieving (“I stole van Gogh’s sadness and painted it on my shoulder”), spying, finding a way through a world that alternately stuns her, saddens her, delights her. Nawrocki is particularly in love with describing paintings and painters (in “Poem for Salvador Dali. . . ”, “I dreamt last night of a mustache”), with fitting past history to current life (“Toward a New Deal,” about the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C.), with jazz (“a slow / trombone slithers and hands skim the wood torso / of an upright bass, leaving the bow behind / for the kinesthetic of the body”), teaching writing (“Bless the first day of class”) and sometimes even whimsy (as in ”Ode to My Brain,” which begins “How you itch inside my skull. . . . Stop itching, you silly brain”). Most aptly named, Reconnaissance is a welcoming collection of excursions from the inner self to the outward presence. Nawrocki over and over convinces us that the observed and the felt—be it painting, place or person—forever clings to and changes the observer. A warm, rich, valuable and important collection. I most highly recommend it for buying, reading and rereading. What a pleasure it is to have followed this poet on her path to such true accomplishment.
Dick Allen is the author of This Shadowy Place: Poems and seven other prize-winning poetry volumes. Add Dick Allen to your library and help me thank him for his generous words. Order your copy of Reconnaissance today for early shipping from Homebound.