Friday, April 15, 2016

Some Mornings - Nelson Ball (Mansfield Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Some Mornings.  Nelson Ball.  Mansfield Press.  Toronto, Ontario.  2014.

Nelson Ball is becoming an institution here at Today's book of poetry.  Some Mornings is the fourth title from the Paris, Ontario poet to grace our pages.  Previously we have admired Minutiae (Apt . 9 Press), A Gathering (Book Thug), and In This Thin Rain (Mansfield Press) and you can find a link to those blogs below.

Nelson Ball continues to astound with his particular type of minimalism.  These poems hit the reader's ear as complete conversations, quicksilver and well-honed observations.

A Form of Grief

     In memory of Barbara
     and our friend bpNichol

Barbara and I
when we learned

of the death
of our friend

engaged in passionate
prolonged lovemaking

clinging to each other

asserting life
clinging to it


Even though Some Mornings is tinged with its share of grief, reading Nelson Ball is like fresh snow falling on Christmas Eve, it is always welcomed.  These poems are so clean and crisp on the palate that they make your mouth water.

Some Mornings reminds us of how beautiful the world can be when we slow down and consider what is before us, sometimes it reminds us of how beautifully sad the world can be.  There is all the beauty and sadness of the world in here.  

Much like the Nobel Prize winning Master of Japanese literature Yasunari Kawabata, author of Beauty and Sadness, In The House of the Sleeping Beauties, The Master of Go, Ball, a Master himself as far as we here at Today's book of poetry are concerned, uses a very deft brush in order to say more with less.  Kawabata wrote: "Put your soul in the palm of my hand for me to look at, like a crystal jewel, I'll sketch into words..." and Nelson Ball sketches with the best of them.

You Must Look Hard To See What's There

     In memory of David UU (David W. Harris)

He read
a poetry manuscript


at different
times of day

in different 

David UU
told me

what he did

that's what I do


You all know about our morning read here at the offices of Today's book of poetry.  Since Nelson Ball is the poet who has appeared most often on our pages we decided to do something a little different for today's reading.  For the very first time we dedicated a reading, this morning it was dedicated to Barbara Caruso.  Caruso, who has passed away, was Nelson Ball's other half and continues to be both his muse and the frequent subject of his poetry.

These poems are filled with hope and kindness and that is a good rare thing.

East of Plattsville

On the regional highway east of Plattsville
is a metal fabricating plant

it used to be
a pickle factory

every time I drive past now
coming from either direction

my eyes well up
as I think of Barbara

this happens
every time




Elegant grief and beautiful hopeful joy both abound in this tidy and robust little emotion machine. Today's book of poetry doff our collective hats once again to Nelson Ball and his ever so sublime Some Mornings.  You really don't have to look any further for anything.

Nelson Ball

Nelson Ball is a poet and bookseller living in Paris, Ontario. He has worked as a labourer, chauffeur, clerk, seasonal forest ranger, record store clerk and janitor. From 1965 to 1973 he ran the legendary Weed/Flower Press, publishing mimeo editions of early books by Victor Coleman, Carol Bergé, David McFadden, bill bissett, bpNichol and many others. He is the author of 25 poetry books and chapbooks.

He understands not only how to leave space for poems to breathe but also how to leave space for our brains to breathe. The rhythm of these poems are tailored to the way the contemplative mind works…”
     — Mark Sampson, Free Range Reading

“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.”
     — Michael Dennis, Today’s Book of Poetry

“From his seat at the pond’s edge, the poet learns to hear the language of its elements, and then teaches the reader to do the same.”
     — Nita Pronovost, Matrix

“At his best, Ball proves that short can be eloquent, and small beautiful.”
     — W. J. Keith, Canadian Book Review Annual


Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

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