Appalachian Koans

by Mark Hartenbach. A Peshekee River Mini-chap. 2002. Peshekee River, P.O. Box 689, Eastpointe, MI. 48021.

Book Review by

As if I were really sitting, really, for once really hearing, really in the church of my choice, to a saint of Ohio, working class belt, socks, the poetic voice of Mark Hartenbach. He’s not yelling, scolding, bitching, berating or asking for money but he understands the absolute confusion about the ordinary spirituality that we - as people hardly a few thousands years out of the trees in Africa - ponder. He speaks about that philosophical pondering, someone, you, me, she, whoever, one has when there are only a precious few seconds of spiritually, wondering and pondering, and then it is time to go back to work. Why am I here if I am a spiritual being and still have to punch in? Mark H. knows that the answer is the question. He’s the poet with the biggest soul, maybe all of ours total together and … he’s worried… and he is wondering.