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Photos by Bill Keisling
Some poets have a great way of using words that make us marvel at their creativity and word play, yet they say nothing of importance. Other poets use words to impart wisdom, often in dull, pedantic rhythms. In Crow at the Lawson Hotel, Rick Kearns shows us, in eight succulent poems, how to do both. Using the crow as the central focus, he explores societal, existential, and personal themes, blending both pain and humor. It’s a collection that reveals great depth upon multiple readings. Kearns is a wondrous poet and these poems are a testament to that wonder.
More about Crow at the Lawson Hotel
The way they soar and circle and caw. Yeah. "Shiny black birds" -- their sounds, the way they communicate in flight, or alight on a power line to conjure or gossip.
Kearns calls it a screech. Strong, authoritarian-- maybe to interrupt traveling signals, cathode rays. Even caught in a yaw they can ripple the most imperceptible waves of glassy rivers.
And, Oh! their hip manner as they critique a stray sax solo lost in "the crumbling remains of the Lawson Hotel." Crows start playin' around sunrise, "they sweep in from the South", dark silhouettes over 7th Street, Cameron, Muench, Cumberland. All around the waterfront. All along the watchtower.
Boricua rises through the blood of Kearns' poems the way another ancestor, Rilke, in his 3rd Duino Elegy, explains how, inside us we haven't loved just someone in the future, but a fermenting tribe; just not one child, but fathers, cradled inside us like ruins of mountains, the dry riverbed of former mothers…feelings welled up from beings no longer here.
Craig Czury, author of Kitchen Of Conflict Resolution
I like Kearns’ poetry, each one glimmers with a different wave coming in from a faraway place where the muse of poetry originates.
Jimmy Santiago Baca
From the introduction by Susan Deer Cloud:
I respect and admire the balance that Rick brings to these circling poems, his Rufino bravery in taking on America's injustices as well as his sensitivity to beauty despite the oppressions of perennial cruelty, his embracing of dreams, and his daring to embark on the odyssey of Rufino's Secret. Rick, thank you, nya'weh, for sharing your magical secret with us, amigo. And, of course, abrazos.
Kearns immortalizes the voiceless and the weird, while damning the culture that produces them. But there is also humor and fears, wisdom and light, flowers and steel in his creative equation.