Footsteps in the Garden by Bob MacKenzie
Bob MacKenzie starts off his new poetry book with these lines: “in battered stetson and old jeans /he recalls the time of legends” from the poem “an american dream.” His use of sparse language gives you just what you need just like this poem lets you know his style of writing poems right up front.Amazon USA
“Footsteps in the Garden”
By Bob MacKenzie
Review by LB Sedlacek
Bob MacKenzie starts off his new poetry book with these lines: “in battered stetson and old jeans /he recalls the time of legends” from the poem “an american dream.” His use of sparse language gives you just what you need just like this poem lets you know his style of writing poems right up front.
Writing poems should be truly original even if you are writing about things/people/places others have also written about, too. MacKenzie’s verses exhale unique images which truly sets them apart.
MacKenzie’s poems vary from a few verses to several pages. I’m always saying that the poem should dictate the length and not the other way around. In the poem “in the midst of things” he gives you an eye opening view of empty streets and city life, myths and paradise, poets and folk singers and so on. This poem is a masterful tale, somewhat like a ballad.
These lines from the poem “The Dark Shimmering Deep for all the prophets in rags”: “I walk a wilderness of concrete streets, / I speak to the wind, I cry out to the sky,” make you want to reread them, savor them, then continue reading along to see what comes next.
These poems plumb the depths of life. MacKenzie’s words are soulful and skillful.
From the poem “street of dreams”:
“a street painted in darker shades
blues and blacks just beyond sundown
lamp posts supporting cones of light
staged yellow circles in the dark
fading to the vanishing point”
MacKenzie’s pacing is spot on. The verses sizzle with suspense, resilience, hope, love, trauma, solace, woes, so much.
My favorite poem in the collection is “read aloud.” It is a wise look at words and writing, something very important to writers everywhere. Lines from the poem: “the first and all / saying by / eye gesture / intonation / flow flux howl rant rave / dance fire smoke captive / words undone / doing” This poem is riveting as if it reads the minds of almost any writer out there struggling to get words down on paper.
It seems MacKenzie has found his own way of writing splicing in clever content amidst terrific verses. You will read the difference and maybe hope that all poetry was written like this.
~LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “Swim,” “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars,” “Happy Little Clouds,” and “The Poet Next Door.” Her first poem novel is “The Blue Eyed Side” and her first short story collection is entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.” Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com You can find out more about her at www.lbsedlacek.com