by Bill Berry, Jr., audona
Howard Nelson is a poet and writer who has the ability to weave magic, wit, and meaningful purpose into ordinary experiences. Always an audience pleaser, Howard captivates, and his words succinctly capture the flavor, ambiance, and intrigue of Life....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.