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A Little History

Nick Trandahl- 'A Little History'


I’m an  avid fan of all sorts of contemporary poetry, especially free verse shorter pieces that manage to condense something very potent and significant into just a few lines. I like poetry that packs the honest punch of Hemingway, Jim Harrison or Raymond Carver. I want to feel the point or theme of a poem suddenly and simply. There’s elegance in honest and simple poetry.

Being such a fan of that style of poetry, it should come as no surprise that over the years my own writing has also been purified into a similar style. My first book of poetry, Lost Yellow, published by Swyers Publishing and available in paperback or kindle here, began as the desperate poetic scribblings of deployed U.S. soldier caught in the tight spin of a downward spiral. The poems of Lost Yellow were largely angry and soaked in depressive imagery and themes, and they were oftentimes long, rhyming, and meandering-simply a means for me to spill out mental illness in as artful a way as I could manage at that time. Poetry became my coping mechanism. Little did I know that I would fall in love with it.

Years have passed. I have discovered myself in a new life surrounded by loved ones and inspired daily by the simple sights around me, my travels and adventures, and the poetic mastery of Harrison and Carver, and also Mary Oliver, William Stratton, Christina Strigas and countless other poets.

My poems have reflected these changes within their themes, imagery and composition. I’ve discovered that a poem doesn’t have to be dressed in grandeur. My next collection of poetry, which will be published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2017, will reflect these changes to my poetry. A poem, sometimes the best of poems, can be a single quiet observation.

In the above unpublished poem, “A Little History”, I’ve attempted to write about the current makeup of my own mind with as few lines and with as much simplicity as possible. The poem begins by observing the current state of my mind, all colorful and tranquil, but as the reader follows the drifting lilac blossoms down towards the bottom, they find the petals have settled on bones speckled in old moss. They’ve been there awhile. The skulls are meant to represent the proverbial “skeletons in my closet”, the grim and dark secrets and failures of my past. Like old ruins, my dark past is a part of the landscape and geography of my mind and soul.

“A Little History” is meant to grant the reader a little bit of insight into what this particular poet is made of. I hope you enjoy it.

Stay tuned for more.

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