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Haiku Journal Issue #62
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Waiting for the Light to Change by Scott Ruescher
Waiting for the Light to Change is bursting with relevant poems for today’s lover of poetry. With themes that span politics, family, culture, and a myriad of today’s complexities, Ruescher engages the thoughtful reader, shares his poetical voice, and resonates beyond the pages. His long lines create a full-throated experience for the reader. By employing the language of poetry, Ruescher is able to open a dialog that seeks to engage, not divide, making this book suited to poetry lovers from all walks of life. Enjoy the world of Scott Ruescher.
About the poet:
Scott Ruescher won the 2016 Write Prize from Able Muse, the 2015 Rebecca Lard Award from Poetry Quarterly, and, in both 2013 and 2014, the Erika Mumford Award for poetry about travel and international culture from the New England Poetry Club. His chapbooks include Sidewalk Tectonics (documenting a road-trip from Lincoln’s birthplace in Hodgenville, Kentucky, to the site of ML King’s assassination in Memphis) and Perfect Memory (documenting more of that same trip as well as adventures in such places as Central Ohio, Central America, and Central Square, Cambridge). For 15 years he has been administrating the Arts in Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and teaching part-time in the Boston University Prison Education Program—all while feeling vaguely skeptical about such intimate participation in institutions of higher learning.
Praise for Scott Ruescher
"Scott Ruescher goes back into the past like a man walking through walls and there finds the things that signify. The details, the atmospheres so full of our younger wanting. Had we but known. His long lines deliver the most bittersweet tones, playing the now against the then, and letting the implicit sadness of bygone lives throw a shadowy depth behind every new moment."
Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age
"Scott Ruescher is an evangelist for reality, declaiming its glitzy multitudinosity in long cinematic sentences, with a mixture of love, wonder and disgust. Ruescher's linguistic resourcefulness breaks like a storm across the page and we are borne along with recognition, amazement and dismay. Beneath their effervescent verbal surfaces these poems are sad and tender. Ruescher has a beautiful talent."
Tony Hoagland, author of Unincorporated Personas in the Late Honda Dynasty; What Narcissism Means to Me; Donkey Gospel; and Sweet Ruin
"Scott Ruescher is a Baby Boom Whitman, a Rust Belt Ginsberg, whose long sentences echo “Alice’s Restaurant” as much as those of his poetic forebears. The poems are filled with wry parenthetical asides and delicious specifics, casual rhymes and witty ending couplets. The southern and midwestern towns that trigger many of these poems are populated by “unknown, unheralded, unimportant citizens” but Ruescher always manages to celebrate “the old happiness/Of fellowship with humanity.” This includes fellowship with the “motel Patels,” disenfranchised black men on street corners or an old abuela on the same Guatemalan chicken bus, all the while conscious and open about his own status as a white American man. His willingness to be so up front about race is remarkable. Sometimes the poems seem as if they could be illustrated by Dorothea Lange and other times by paintings on black velvet, showing the range of Ruescher’s sharp eye and poignant observations. Whether he is revisiting a youthful paradise of silken-tasseled cornfields now paved into a 40-acre parking lot of ticking meters, making a pilgrimage to the Lorraine Motel or visiting Graceland and Lincoln’s birthplace on days they turn out to be closed, the poet is always trying make sense of the trajectory of his own life, from the working-class Republican heartland of his childhood to the academic east coast where he now lives. Along the way, he also helps us better make sense of a country inhabited by icons as different as Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Elvis."
Jennifer Rose, author of The Old Direction of Heaven and Hometown for an Hour
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