Tuesday, February 13, 2007



(Horse Less Press, Providence, RI, 2006)

A book may not be judged by its cover, but this chap’s wonderful handmade cover by Kate Schapira drew my attention to this poetry collection. Otherwise, perhaps WIND IS WIND AND RAIN IS RAIN by Brynne might have sat a bit longer amidst the piles of still-to-be-read review copies.

The cover is a lovely painting/drawing against a turquoise backdrop—there are peach abstract swirls evoking conch shells, or ears, or okir, done with grainy-surfaced paint. The brushstrokes aren’t just abstract gestures—there is a vibrant liveliness to them that promote a sense of activity on the page—synchronistic with an entrancingly drawn outline of a moving puppy or small dawg in the bottom half of the cover page. The overall effect is really enchanting.

So I admired the cover and since I had the chap in hand, proceeded to go ahead and read the poems. What a relief that the poems are just as entrancing as the cover that presents them! Here’s a poem in its entirety:

As a Rubber Chain

Rubber is lighter than a chain
more delicate than a chain

A chain would be safer
if you were flying from rooftop to rooftop

I think it would be better
to jump from rooftop to rooftop
if they were as close as you could step

It’s not real
Never tell your children
that it’s real
because it seeks an automobile

As the flowers go
from the automobile
Visual Australia goes
flowing to the rooftop

You never know
if voodoo is real
Perhaps it is
perhaps it’s not

It’s something that I smiled through the whole journeying through the chap’s pages. And how delightful to discover on the chap’s last page the following “bio”, to wit:

Brynne is six. She enjoys playing with her petit fauve brother. She loves toads and trains them to do really cool stuff. She wants to be a gymnast and a veterinarian when she grows up. P.J. Harvey is her favorite singer.

This is a chap of poems written by a six-year-old poet! Yet the poems’ child-like (if you will) nature wasn’t what comprised my initial reactions. I reacted more with such notions as ‘charm,” “freshness,” and “a piquant directness”!

The directness, in particular, is among the poems’ strongest assets. The collection offers a seeming lack of mediation between what the poet experienced and how the poet shared that experience. For example, the first part of “Horses Horses Horses”:

Horses horses horses
All I see is horses

Horses horses horses
All I see is horses

A thousand horses

running around
with their hooves

clip clop
clip clop

That “Horrrrrses” is particularly effective with its encouraged rolling r’s to emphasize visually and verbally the relishing of, the delight in, the experience.

These poems are why I believe in that saying, “We’re all born poets. It’s the living that can leach the poetry out of us.” Here’s another, uh, taste…from Brynne’s “Fox Food”:

I saw a fox in the garden
eating a rabbit already dead.

I could live with seeing a fox eating
but could not live with seeing a rabbit dying.

After relishing the chap’s experience—after feeling the WIND [A]S WIND and the RAIN [A]S RAIN—I contacted Jen Tynes, the poet-publisher over at Horse Less Press. The press, by the way, prides itself as where “all…publications are constructed by hand”—and in this intention this chap is particularly successful as Schapira’s cover was the most welcome presenter of the interior contents. To Jen, I mentioned my interest in doing a review and wondered whether I should include Brynne’s last name.

She replied that Brynne’s parent thought that “for safety/security reasons because of her age, it would be better not to give her full name on the internet, etc.”

Fair enough. Oh, but that engaging cover? Jen noted that the artist “was really happy about making the cover according to Brynne's specifications (that it be pink and purple, glittery, and involve a terrier).”

Okay, so I’m old and getting blind and maybe what I thought was peach was pink and what I thought was purple was turquoise and what I thought was grainy was glittery. But a terrier! Well, I said puppy or small dog!

In any event, I was charmed by this whole experience—on and off the pages—of WIND IS WIND AND RAIN IS RAIN. It, indeed, is what it is: an uplifting weather.


Eileen Tabios HEARTS wine, dogs and Thou.


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