Blue Tin Sky

We rated this book:


Blue Tin Sky is clearly a labor of love for poet Greg Gregory. Not only has he written the 54 poems in the collection but also created the cover art, a painting of a storm near Mendocino, which is fitting for poetry so rooted in northern California.

The book is divided into four unnamed sections, and nearly all of these free-verse poems are a single page in length and easy to read and contemplate before moving on to the next one. The title poem, Blue Tin Sky, invites us to “come bathe under waterfalls of words” and indeed, many of Gregory’s poems use cascading words to evoke images, sensations, or emotions. For example, in “Along Drake’s Beach” which describes shells:

the wonder shell, living in amazement,
the rosy harp, lost in its music…
the cat’s-tongue oyster, mewing for pearls,
the moon shell, living in mystery,
the anomia, living without a name –
all reaching down through spirals…

The poet pays careful attention to nature and his poems are inspired by loons, sea glass, wetlands, cattails, tree frogs, beaches, and trails. At the same time, he captures images from city life, as in “Night Moving”:

Moon in the mirror,
dresser in the back of
an open pick-up
jouncing down upper Market at 2 am

in which he observes that although the mirror shudders in its frame, the image of the moon always remains still. Numerous other poems also evoke the moon as it rises, gleams in a window, winks or stares like a cat’s eye/ lost in the night sky.

Many of his lines are quite lovely: The thing of the world is/the softness of its secrets in “Loons” and When young, you have promise, when old, history in “Don Quixote, Summer” and the veil most fragile catches the most light. We learn to be quiet about beauty in “By Tomales Bay.”

Other poems are dialogues—with a house:

My tires crush wild oat and star thistle
that have finally grown through the concrete,
now too broken to stop them.
I have no business being here…
The house whispers, ‘Remember me, remember you.

or with “an Ex from the 60’s” which unmistakably references San Francisco:

City of visions. City of promises….
City of painted ladies. City of mirrors…
City of Alice’s rabbit holes. City of illusions…

The third section is the most elegiac, as it addresses grandchildren, aging, and memory: …years lose ceremony, importance. Our stories are the important things…The water and sea stay. The waves pass through.

These evocative and simple poems will stay with you long after you read them.

Reviewed By:

Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 68 pages
Publisher Avenafatua Press
Publish Date 2018-12-31
ISBN 9781732650800 Buy this Book
Issue January 2020
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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