By David Clewell
Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1994
ISBN # 0-299-14410-0
85 pages

Comments by Bob Corbett
February 2011

I have been a fan of David Clewell’s poetry for many years. David was a colleague of mine at Webster University, and he often read from his works. I never missed a chance to hear him, and have collected many of his books. However, this is the first time I have commented on one within this collection of notes on my reading.

One of the poems of this collection: “Holding On” was printed as an individual poem and given to some of us by David as a Christmas gift one year. It’s one of my favorites. I love to imagine myself as that “key among keys,” a lost key, but one that must open some treasure of a lock somewhere.

This volume seems to carry with it both hope; hope of getting somewhere, and the craziness of some “goings to somewhere.” David is learned about and seemly obsessed with such things a flying saucers and people’s adventures with them, magicians, like Houdini, of experiences like “The Rapture” that occurs in seemingly mainly rural fundamentalist religion. He love carnivals and carnies, and goes on and on about spontaneous human combustion.

David’s imagination runs wild and yet he seems to stand aloof, on the one hand utterly fascinated by these “realities” of our culture, yet, if not downright scornful of them, reeling back in astonishment at such faith and belief. However, he often ties himself back to his own reality. In the midst of some outrageous imaginings, he will find some image that brings him back to his life, his love of his partner, and the comfort, and soothing guide along that way to somewhere that this relationship brings. It’s a lovely stylistic and poetic trait.

This is a marvelous collection of very unusual poems on themes seldom seen in much of contemporary poetry, but I found them comforting, humorous and challenging.

A delightful collection and experience in reading them all again.

Bob Corbett


Becoming Reading Thinking Journals


Bob Corbett