That Was Really Something
by Howard Nelson
The poems in Howard Nelson’s new collection are often two or three pages long. They are meditative, digressive, and carefully crafted. The natural world and cultural history are equally interesting to him, and both are the subject matter of the poems: coyotes, James Brown, rattlesnakes, Godzilla, William Blake. Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus, Birdology, and many other books, says: “Reading a Howard Nelson poem feels like the best kind of woods-ramble. You start out curious and comfortable. You take some unexpected turns. You may encounter deep shade or blazing sun, water, rocks or moss, unexpected people and animals. And by the time you’re at the end, you’re a changed person. Often, his insights and language take my breath away.”
Howard Nelson grew up in New Jersey, across the river from NYC, but has lived most of his life in the Finger Lakes region of New York. He is Professor Emeritus at Cayuga Community College, and is still teaching. His books include Robert Bly: An Introduction to the Poetry, Earth, My Likeness: Nature Poetry of Walt Whitman, The Nap by the Waterfall, and All the Earthly Lovers: Poems New & Selected. In 2018 he was chosen to read at the inauguration ceremonies for the city council of Auburn, New York.