by Norman J. Olson. Beaver Lake Press, 946 N. McKnight Rd. Maplewood, MN, 55119-3635.
Book Review by Michael Basinski
Recently, I meeted and talkted with Norman J. Olson but I guess you who read this will have to wait till he comes to your space to do just that. You should invite him. Anyway, Norman writes with sharp insight into the work, the poem world of Lyn Lifshin and you should read his reviews of her books on the Lifshin website or is it web site - two words? But I am just cranking up this AM here and want to get on to his poems: poems that I will return to again and again: They are filed with the names of animals and the animal world is alive here in this poetry. Perhaps it is a primal instinct of the untamed, well, yes it is, that allows Norman J. to record succinctly what is about him. Yes they are observations but enhanced via the talents of a form of animal observation - clearer, more focused, sharper than the dull wits of humanity. Here are some lines form Norman’s “On Sunlight,”: The black and bottomless/ sky wears a blue mask/ and thermonuclear/ eyeballs gleam/ like suns. And then in this poem by Olson called, “If I were to Paint the Madonna,” these lines: When icicles drip/ form the fat man’s lip/ and dinosaur bones laugh in the air like donuts,/ then violin music that slips though/ a hole in the ceiling seems less out of place than/ the mace/ on the security guard’s Sam Browne. Hear the music? I hear it. So, yeah, well you might find Norman Olson at Ryan’s Bar because two poems name the place. Or you might recognize now Norman’s name because his art, his drawings are here and there in magazines, zines and about the web. But mostly, I think you should write Norman. Say, Hello, Norman, I am interested in your poems and I wanna see them all. Norman will say, I think, OK. So write and send a buck or two.