The Fingertips of a Glassblower

First published in the “Briefly Reviewed” section of Frogpond 40:1, Winter 2017, page 106. See also my review of Young Osprey.       +

The Fingertips of a Glassblower by Bill Cooper (2016, Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA). 64 pages, 4¼×6½˝, perfectbound. ISBN 978-1-936848-62-1. $15.00 from Red Moon Press.

As with his recommended 2015 book, Young Osprey, this book again features poems with rich subjects and diction (bergamot, Bihn Dinh, spoonbill, farrier, dragonflying, mangrove, jambalaya, spalted, scherzo, opal, Respighi, krewe, matador, yarrow). The book’s 88 poems (25 of which are one-liners) appear at one or two per page, which helps the reading experience unfold in a relaxed way. As with the previous volume, a handful of poems feel private, such as “near my first bedroom / a boy puncturing / the fire house,” but many others rise up with creative expression and fresh or intense seeing, such as “egret on a high branch / the lily eyebrow / of a gator” or “slowing the bike / in full bloom a field / of lavender” or “clanging halyard / a clam basket full / of snow.” In addition, several poems move beyond personal observation to take a refreshing stance of empathy, as in “high in the pine / an eaglet’s first taste / of trout” or “cranberry sunrise oh to be a bog turtle.” One more favourite, because of its childlike delight and sharp observation: “muffled giggles / her smile reflected / in a crab bubble.”