The Tower Journal

The Familiar Stranger

Star Cloud Press
ISBN # 978-1932842-78-4
92 pages

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These poems, published in celebration of the Poet's eightieth birthday, aren't, as one would suspect, poems written recently.  Rather, according to the poet, "they are largely just poems I couldn't fit into other collections."  Perhaps that is why there is no main theme evident in the book, which is divided into four parts:  Home Tunes, Talismans, Urban Myths and The Stranger's Songs. 

The strongest poems are those that deal with elements of the natural world.  The language and imagery are beautiful, pleasing to the mind and mouth; the philosophy and metaphysics are dissipitive, softly pulling the world's wide routh.

Take for example the poem, "The Stranger."

The Stranger

The world sings with foxes, plover
in the fields, leaves falling the long
route down, and in the hills
mist over the lakes where fish
say the fell thing to the man in the mud,
the face of ash drowning forever
and forever rising, his eyes another
color each time, his face the face
of the stranger forever, born always
the same stranger, brother of the fish,
father of mist, the fields his plow's
share, he and the red leaves,
farrow and cover, bide as the foxes
call in the wind.


—Mary  Ann Sullivan

The Tower Journal
Spring/Summer 2014