"That Was Really Something by Howard Nelson is a marvelous deeply felt poetical examination of our culture. These are meditative poems that go beyond the neurosis of the new travel writer who gets his supposedly first-hand experiences from Wikipedia. Each poem in this collection gives us space to roam around in. Yet, by the time you've finished them, you'll marvel at Nelson's control of language and his ability not to rush but to involve us in his memories of being awakened. This collection is like listening to a DJ who invites you to go back in time, but gently drops you off at new destination."
"Howard Nelson's work is like no other. His poems reach you in an unexpected way. By the time you read to the end of one of his poems, you may feel encouraged, frightened, saddened, or flooded with memories you thought were lost, but your feelings will always surprise you. Nelson is a quiet person and might not describe himself as one of the world's great poets. But he is."
--Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
"I'm so happy Howard Nelson is honoring our musical heroes. Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley— "virtuoso original interpreters of a great tradition," as he calls them. Reading these poems makes me re-realize how lucky I was to grow up in that era. I especially love these homages to untamed artistic energy as a counterpoint to his stunning poems about getting old. The self-deprecating humor found throughout much of his work is now joined with naked foreboding. I can't think of another artist with the mojo to bring these emotions together so humanly."
"Reading a Howard Nelson poem feels like the best kind of woods-ramble. You start out curious and comfortable. You take some unexpected turns. You may encounter deep shade or blazing sun, water, rocks or moss, unexpected people and animals. And by the time you're at the end, you're a changed person. Often, his insights and language take my breath away.
by Bill Berry, Jr., audona
I am sure you have heard the word “champion” used in reference to folks who extoll and proclaim the value of an idea or planned project. There are champions in all fields of endeavor, and the creative arts are firmly included. And in the genre of poetry, there is one who aaduna treasures....Complete Post
by Gary Metras, Wilderness House Literary Review
Imagine yourself sitting at a table in a cafe or a kitchen with good friends, swapping succint and meaningful stories, and you will have the style and appeal of this new book of poems by Howard Nelson. The poems are narrative, easy going, and straightforward, like good conversation.
Each poem evolves in such a way that you are lured by the narrated situation, whether the poem is seven lines ("Thanks") or five pages ("Tubing the Esopus") into reading all of the poem and are richly rewarded by an ending which sheds new light on the story and often elevates what began as a personal narrative to a universal truth. The speaker of "Hound in Pond" observes a dog sniffing along the opposite shore "checking the news among the mud and grass" to discover that it is "a cool dog in the pond of sensible desire."
The poem from which the book's title derives, "Twenty-five Naps in the Adirondacks," is less narrative and more descriptive. Nelson uses accumlated details, "The nap by pond in late summer./You lie down in the tall grass and disappear into it," segue into "the great nap you have not yet taken." So this personal poem, full of lush images, stuns the reader with that beautiful, apocalyptic ending. This is wonderful writing.