Poems (New and Selected) by Ron Rash

Ron Rash Poems

I’m a huge fan of Ron Rash’s books and short stories.  When his book titled Poems (New and Selected) arrived at the library, I was thrilled.  I’m trying to read more poetry this year.  His poems explore family history, Appalachian life, and a love of land.  I enjoyed all of the poems but four really touched me.

The Vanquished – It reminded me of attending the outdoor drama, Unto These Hills, in Cherokee, North Carolina when I was 10 years old.  I was devastated at the way the Cherokee Indian’s were treated.

The Exchange – I love the following lines from this poem.

slips the ring on herself so
he knows right then the woman
she will be, bold enough match
for a man rash as his name.

Eurkea – I loved the following verse from this poem about his grandfather.

To earn extra pay    each spring he would climb
the mill’s water tower    repaint every letter.
The vowel heavy word    defined the horizon
A word my grandfather    could not even read.

Jokes – This poem about the Great Depression reminds me of my grandfather who said they ate squirrel during that time and were glad to have it.

To have some meat on Sundays we would shoot
some gray squirrels in the woods below the mill.
We’d call them Hoover hogs, another joke
we filled our mouths with so we could go on.

Like all good poetry collections I learned a new word.  I find myself reading with my iPhone by my side more often than not these days.  As soon, as I read the word palimpsest, I typed in my security code and did a web search on one of my favorite sites, dictionary.com.  Palimpsest – a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.

Here’s an example from Wikipedia.