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on March 29, 2012 :
"Knowing Nature" is a collection of free-verse poems that refreshes the soul the way a walk in the woods or a dip in the lake refreshes the body. For just a few seconds you are transported somewhere else, to a cool northern place -- breathing the scents, enjoying the sounds. You are no longer in a chair reading words on a laptop in a slightly overheated office.
In "A Hundred Feet from Shore" you are in a rowboat, feeling the threat of unstable weather as "waves hit the boat trying to come aboard." In "Bandits?" you are in the mind of the mother racoon when she warns her children why it is ncessary to to stay away from people, and by poem's end you think maybe you should, too. The poems speak universal truths in an accessible way, yet always locate them in very specific points and places -- on a construction site where "Wrens bathe in / the workman's tracks" or in a woods "where the hazel brush / stands higher than / the head of a tall man."
While taking any real walk in the woods, have you ever wondered how that particular tree happened to grow in that particular place, taking that particular shape? Poika has, and he takes you on a seed's incredible journey in "A Leaf in the Hand." Have you ever wondered what really goes on in the mind of your dog during one of those routine outdoor walks? Poika offers some comic possibilities in "My First Turtle."
I have a friend who makes it a practice to read a poem a day "just like taking a vitamin." If the idea strikes your fancy and you'd like to try doing the same, I recommend UC Poika's "Knowing Nature" as a good place to begin.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)