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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review of What I Got For A Dollar by Bert Stern

If ever there were a tour de force of poetic cravings this is it. What I Got for a Dollar is Bert Stern’s third poetry collection and it’s magnificent. Stern craves deeply, but not shrilly, the cause behind the cause of creation. He makes the basic argument for divinity’s possibility as deftly as Thomas Aquinas ever did. Perhaps better. In fact the somewhat absentminded Deity that Stern conjures up behind his naturalistic images seems eminently likable, albeit dependent on humanity for help in keeping up appearances.   

Everything depends on the focus in Stern’s poems. In one poem he considers the micro world, Blake’s grain of sand. In other contexts the poet ponders over what he curiously calls “the ordinary.” Occasionally he jumps off the earth’s edge to commune with more fearsome, macro and fiery powers. Even the political and the comic are not beyond Stern’s observational attention. Also, throughout the collection, the poet works in an exquisite commentary on aging. He embeds it in both his persona’s longings and perceptions. For more of my review go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2018/05/what-i-got-for-dollar-poems-by-bert.html

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