Today's book of poems: In This Thin Rain. Nelson Ball. Mansfield Press. A Stuart Ross Book. Toronto. 2012.
Previous to this I've read Bird Tracks On Hard Snow (ECW, 1994), and At The Edge Of The Frog Pond (The Mercury Press, 2004).
You don't so much read a Nelson Ball book as inhale it. Ball's poetry is sparse. And in some ways it makes him the best poet out there. Ball is capable of saying more with less, or as Ezra Pound pleaded, he distills the language.
of a very long train
is leaving Paris
while the other end
This isn't wit, it is wisdom. There is no pretence, no pontification. Instead Ball has tapped into a vein of truth through pure observation. He sees what we all see, the small transitory moments that make up our lives - but there is nothing "small" about his conclusions or observations.
Reading Nelson Ball is like drinking cool, clear, fresh water on a hot day. Refreshing and necessary.