Darkness Sticks to Everything Epub ´ Darkness Sticks

Darkness Sticks to Everything [PDF / EPUB] Darkness Sticks to Everything After this all but unknown poet was called an “American master” in a long gorgeous review in The New York Times Tom Hennen was finally discovered and his book became a poetry best seller“It’s After this all but unknown poet was called an “American master” in a long gorgeous review in The New York Times Tom Hennen was finally discovered and his book became a poetry best seller“It’s hard to believe that this American master—and I don’t use those words lightly—has been hidden right under our noses for decades But despite Darkness Sticks PDF \ his lack of recognition Mr Hennenhas simply gone about his calling with humility and gratitude in a culture whose primary crop has become fame He just watches waits and then strikes delivering heart buckling lines” —Dana Jennings The New York TimesAs with Ted Kooser Tom Hennen is a genius of the common touch They are amazingly modest men who early accepted poetry as a calling in ancient terms and never let up despite being ignored early on They return to the readers a thousandfold for their attentions—Jim Harrison from the introductionMany readers will appreciate this evocation of a life not as commonly portrayed in contemporary verse— Library JournalThere is something of the ancient Chinese poets in Hennen of Clare and Thoreau although he is very much a contemporary poet— Willow SpringsOne of the most charming things about Tom Hennen's poems is his strange ability to bring immense amounts of space often uninhabited space into his mind and so into the whole poem—Robert BlyAmerica is a country that loves its advertising That loves its boxes we can put people and places into We love 'Heartland' as opposed to 'Dustbowl' We also love to be surprised Rural Minnesota as written by Tom Hennen in Darkness Sticks to Everything is a world of realistic loneliness and lessons It’s a collection of sincere poems about man and the land— The RumpusHennen is a master of the prose poem who can take little details tiny details and make them universal— River Falls JournalWhat separates Hennen from many of his contemporaries is his willingness to identify with the natural world in a way that feels neither possessive nor self serving but simply once again sincere— Basalt MagazineThere is something strong in all Tom Hennen's poems an awareness and a clear sure voice I don't usually want to end by saying 'Buy this book' but I'm going to say it this time 'You should buy this book'—Fleda Brown Interlochen Public Radio Michigan Writers on the AirTom Hennen gives voice to the prairie and to rural communities celebrating—with sadness praise and astute observations—the land weather and inhabitants In short lyrics and prose poems he reveals the detailed strangeness of ordinary things Gathered from six chapbooks that were regionally distributed this volume is Hennen's long overdue introduction to a national audience Includes an introduction by Jim Harrison and an afterword by Thomas R SmithIn Falling Snow at a Farm Auction Straight pine chairComfortableIn anyone's companyOlder than grandmotherIt enters the presentIts arms wide openWanting to hold another young wifeTom Hennen author of six books of poetry was born and raised in rural Minnesota After abandoning college he married and began work as a letterpress and offset printer He helped found the Minnesota Writer's Publishing House then worked for the Department of Natural Resources wildlife section and later at the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota Now retired he lives in Minnesota.


10 thoughts on “Darkness Sticks to Everything

  1. says:

    Some French writer when I was a boy said that the desert went into the heart of the Jews in their wanderings and made them what they are I cannot remember by what argument he proved them even yet the indestructible children of earth but it may well be that the elements have their children If we knew the Fire Worshippers better we might find that their centuries of pious observance had been rewarded and that the fire has given them a little of its nature; and I am certain that the water the water of the seas and of lakes and of mist and rain has all but made the Irish after its image Images form themselves in our minds perpetually as if they were reflected in some pool We gave ourselves up in old times to mythology and saw the gods everywhere We talked to them face to face and the stories of that communion are so many that I think they outnumber all the like stories of all the rest of Europe Even to day our countrypeople speak with the dead and with some who perhaps have never died as we understand death; and even our educated people pass without great difficulty into the condition of uiet that is the condition of vision We can make our minds so still like water that beings gather about us that they may see it may be their own images and so live for a moment with a clearer perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our uiet Did not the wise Porphyry think that all souls come to be born because of water and that “even the generation of images in the mind is from water”?—W B Yeats “Earth Fire and Water” from The Celtic Twilight Faerie and FolkloreI’m using Yeats as a touchstone because his voice—relaxed but precise meditative unobtrusively erudite—is much like the voice we find in Minnesota poet Tom Hennen’s Darkness Sticks to Everything Collected New Poems What’s Hennen’s is a watery book a flood of soulful visionary images He is a country person or was he lives now in St Paul and like the countrypeople Yeats mentions is sensitive to the elemental earth its seasons and creatures and these seem to speak through him; or better his poems are in conversation with them We overhear that conversation in Hennen’s poetry He seldom speaks to us directly and as a result his work seems utterly natural devoid of rhetoric Unlike so many poets winning prizes these days his work has the fragrance of black north country soil not the carbolic odor of academeThe world according to Hennen is one in which the human grasp exceeds its reach we think we are taking control farming the land building our homes with their 100 watt lamps to hold back the night but our grasp is finally not firm enough the lights aren’t strong enough Darkness sticks to everythingI love collected poems especially when discovering a new poet—and Hennen is completely new to me We find him first in poems published in the mid 1970s They are tentative in some ways content to open up carefully circumscribed situationsOut of Work More Than a Year Still No One Answers My Letters of ApplicationI late winterAfternoon sunlightDoesn’t budge the snowbanksThat have fallen whole into the backyardA forecast for coldOn the edge of the roofIcicles are in deep conversationI pretend I belong and start talkingThere’s that water Locked up in snowbanks slowly dropping from the eaves But there’s cold in the forecast A bleak but beautiful momentThere is also a uiet humor in Hennen’s work that makes it especially appealing in these days of hyper clever grad school in joke poetry It’s there early on but begins to surface freuently on his 1983 book Looking into the WeatherIndependent ExistenceA small pond comes out of the hillsideOn its surfaceHangs a frog imitating mossA willow leafDrops on the waterAnd is immediately stillAutumn air penetrates the groundWind hums endlesslyTo the tangled grassWhen things happen hereThere is no urge to put them on TVImpossible to read that without smiling And yet the poem seems to have very modest ambitions I wouldn’t call that a character flaw but that modesty was part of Hennen’s early poetic character and it limited the scope of his workWhich may be why a decade passed before Hennen published his next collection Love for Other Things where we find his poetry opening outward The landscapes are capacious the contexts expansivePicking a WorldOne worldIncludes airplanes and power plantsAll the machinery that surrounds usThe metallic odor that has entered wordsThe other world waitsIn the cold rainThat soaks the hours one by oneAll through the nightWhen the woods come so closeyou can hear them breathing like wet dogsThis is not just a moment but the portrait of a condition—physical and spiritual personal and national It’s also I imagine a sly riposte to William Carlos Williams’ dictum of 1944 in his preface to his collection The Wedge that “a poem is a small or large machine made of words” No Hennen says uietly but firmly a poem is not a machine and the idea that it is has sullied our very language with a “metallic odor” Real poems come from “the other world” the non human world where nature “the woods” comes close full of shivering affection like a wet dog This kind of complexity appears in Hennen’s early work only fragmentarily in flashes and it isn’t until his 1997 volume Crawling Out the Window that Hennen breaks out formally by embracing the prose poem formWisconsin poet and editor Thomas R Smith whose most recent editorial effort is the amazing Airmail The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer states in his Afterword to Hennen’s book that “ Crawling Out the Window is one of the greatest prose poem collections written by an American” and I think his assessment is indisputable When we arrive at Hennen’s prose poems we see the poet fully come what Yeats called “the condition of vision “ There is a new kind of layering a new imagistic dimensionality a fresh music that his lined poems simply couldn’t accommodate Prose seems to have released Hennen in some way giving him access to the full scope of his emotional intellectual and spiritual impulses The title poem is a good exampleCrawling Out the WindowWhen water starts to run winds come to the sky carrying parts of Canada and the house is filled with the scent of dead grass thawing When spring comes on the Continental Divide the snowbanks are broken in two and half fall south and half fall north It’s the Gulf of Mexico or Hudson Bay one or the other for the snow the dirt the grass the animals and me The Minnesota prairie has never heard of free will It asks you uietly at first to accept and even love your fate You find out that if you fall south life will be easy as warm rain You wake up with an outgoing personality and a knack for business The river carries you You float easily and are a good swimmer But if you fall north while daydreaming you never uite get your footing back again You will spend most of your time looking toward yourself and see nothing but holes There will be gaps in your memory and you won’t be able to earn a living You always point north like a compass You always have to travel on foot against the wind You always think things might get better You watch the geese and are sure you can flyIt’s incredibly exhilarating to watch Hennen achieve mastery in these poems and in those gathered here in the “New Poems” section where the work ranges from small but luminous lined poems like this one worthy of BashōAn Autumn GiftRed maple leavesLike just soIn the tall faded grassHappy to do itTo this one my favorite of all his many water poemsMinnows IIIt seems nature has many clocks all running at once set to different times Some are as big as Wyoming some the size of a nameless creek If you listened closely the minnows were black seconds ticking and it’s hard but I caught one In the palm of my hand it jumped and tickled and nibbled my skin so I was amused and a bit scared because I was sure that seconds must not be kept from ticking And anyhow it had already escaped back into the icy creek The day was warm and thick as violets I wondered if I should tell someone what I had been bitten by time and it wasn’t so badNotice the shift from present to past in this meditation on time the purposeful narrowing of the view from landscape to creek the minnow’s escape that happens while the poet is distracted by his own thinking and then the enlarging of the view to encompass the whole day and the final observation about what it means to be “bitten by time” There is no way of knowing of course but I imagine that the early Tom Hennen the young poet of the ‘60s and ‘70s would have begun this poem with the third sentence and ended it with the minnow’s escape What he has learned in his years of mindful practice—not through theory not in the classroom—is to give his poems the space they need to breathe as the world breathes deeply joyfully intimatelyJim Harrison one of the few living masters of both poetry and prose fiction in his introduction to Darkness Sticks to Everything compares Hennen with Ted Kooser Both poets he observes “are amazingly modest men who early accepted poetry as a calling in ancient terms and never let up despite being ignored early on They return to the readers a thousand fold for their attentions” Poetry as a calling not an occupation; poetry as vision not machine These are the “ancient terms” Harrison praises and rightly so We need poets like Tom Hennen though in truth they are probably all around us I’m hopeful that this powerful collection will inspire them to keep that ancient faith and inspire readers to seek them out and support them in their work


  2. says:

    I skimmed this before bringing it home and thought Hennen's writing seemed similar to that of Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison and it is I was pleased to find that Jim Harrison actually wrote the foreword to the book This is such a great collection of poetry about nature so many excellent observations arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way Most is reverent some is funny If you like any of the above named poets or Mary Oliver you will like this collection


  3. says:

    Oh my Page after page poem after poem Tom Hennen delivers the essence of things delicately wrapped in the tissue and old newspapers of his words I constantly had the feeling of opening old boxes in the attic wonder mystery and gratitude rising in the shafts of dusty sunlightI cannot think of any other writer who has so gently but definitely entered my list of best American writers


  4. says:

    Fine well bodied poems that bring you in wonder through rain snow and sun


  5. says:

    Farm on a Winter Morning All I can see areCowsAnd five AMMilking machinesHangingOn big teatsThe woman who hanged herselfBefore breakfastWith a halterThe price of oats droppingOn the wayTo the houseMeAnd my fatherTrying to break the iceBetween usA Man Too Much in Love The first woman who left him pushed him over a cliff At least that’s what it felt like when he landed two months later She had come to him out of the warm afternoon dark red hair and innocent face In the air was the perfume the ground has when it first opens up in spring when all the birds become dizzy and some even drop dead with happinessThe second woman who left him pulled all his teeth At least that’s what it felt like for two years and a day afterward She had shining blond hair a face that hit him suddenly as sun in the eye the first time he saw her Only later was it like seeing a birch tree alone on a hillside yellow as a lamp in the rainThe next woman who leaves him will find that he will get up each morning anyway That he will fall in love once with window sills and grasshoppers with long legged pine woods and words that can be used over and over again in the moonlightThe Life of a DayLike people or dogs each day is uniue and has its own personality uirks which can easily be seen if you look closely But there are so few days as compared to people not to mention dogs that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times interesting than most people Usually they just pass mostly unnoticed unless they are wildly nice such as autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle For some reason we want to see days pass even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say no this isn’t one I’ve been looking for and wait in a bored sort of way for the next when we are convinced our lives will start for real Meanwhile this day is going by perfectly well adjusted as some days are with the right amounts of sunlight and shade and a light breeze perfumed from the mixture of fallen apples corn stubble dry oak leaves and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunkSoaking Up SunToday there is the kind of sunshine old men love the kind of day when my grandfather would sit on the south side of the wooden corncrib where the sunlight warmed slowly all through the day like a woodstove One after another dry leaves fell No painful memories came Everything was lit by a halo of light The cornstalks glinted bright as pieces of glass From the fields and grove came the rich smell of mushrooms of things going back to earth I sat with my grandfather then Sheep came up to us as we sat there their oily wool so warm to my fingers a strange and magic snow My grandfather whittled sweet smelling apple sticks just to get at the center His thumb had a permanent groove in it where the back of the knife blade pressed He let me listen to the wind the wild geese the soft dialect of sheep while his own silence taught me every secret thing he knewOutdoor PhotosFind a uiet rain Then a green spruce tree You will notice that nearly every needle has been decorated with a tiny raindrop ornament Look closely inside the drop and there you are In color Upside down The raindrop has no instructions to flip us right side up People dogs muskrats woods and hill whatever fits heads down like uail from a hunter’s belt Raindrops have been collecting snapshots since objects and people were placed to their surprise here and there on earthRaindrops are fickle of course willing to substitute one image for another without a thought as we pass by them Our spot taken by a flash of lightning or a wet duck Still even if we are only on display for a moment in a water drop as it clings to a pine needle it is expected that we be on our best behavior hair combed jacket buttoned no vulgar language Smiling is not necessary but a pleasant attitude is helpful and would be I think appreciated


  6. says:

    So the deal with Hennen is that everyone describes him as an unheralded Master who has been toiling away publishing chapbooks and smaller collections I was surprised and thrilled and sad to find that description totally true As I made my way through this Collected I couldn't believe I hadn't read Hennen before and that he's not well known than he is He deserves to be If that's what he wants These poems warrant a large audience and can change your day or your life if you can internalize them Though I hate to compare poets based upon style Hennen's eye for how the natural world speaks to our own psychology is every bit as refined charming and disarming as the poetry of Ted Kooser Galway Kinnell Robert Bly and the best of the Deep Image poets As is the case in most superb collections there are too many stellar lines and poems to pick and choose to share here That said some of my favorite poems are What the Plants Say Looking For The Differences The Life of a Day and Did I Say This Before?The last poem for it is really sort of an epigraph in particular is wonderful because it begins the book with some of the themes and images which Hennen will revisit time and time again in poem after poem day after day page after page season after season Each time though he comes away with a gem Some vibration of holiness So the answer to his rhetorical poem title is yes and no simultaneously and that's what makes Hennen great


  7. says:

    Read these poems Read these poems Do yourself a favor and read these poems


  8. says:

    Wow just wow This is some of the most beautiful poetry and prose combinations of both that I have EVER read I will never look at anything in nature with the same eyes again Every selection contains some surprising imagery some why didn't I say that phrase so simple but so original and perfect I just love this book


  9. says:

    I learned of Tom Hennen through the Writer's Almanac on my commute to work a few years ago and was instantly intrigued It was winter and something about Hennen's attention to the small things made that early winter morning in my car bearable The poem I heard that morning was Love for Other Things The first four lines read It's easy to love a deerBut try to care about bugs and scrawny treesLove the puddle of lukewarm waterFrom last week's rain For reasons I can't fully articulate I was moved by this poem and bought his collected works that same day It's the first and only book of poetry I've purchased I've picked up the collection from time to time since then usually in winter when I'm experiencing a case of the winter blues If Tom Hennen can survive decades of Minnesota winters and write about them beautifully I can make it through a comparatively mild Virginia winter Hennen's poems are mostly short ish reflections on nature They aren't innovative experimental radical or particularly original even His language is simple and understated but still it transports you to the edge of an empty frosted Minnesota field and makes you believe you are staring out at something beautiful and significant Hennen is a midwesterner from Minnesota and reading his work I imagine him as a uiet loner who silently observes and absorbs the tiniest details in the world around him My favorite poems of his are subtle slowly unfurling reflections on the starkness of the upper midwestern landscape in winter and late autumn; rereading these over the last few years has made my own Virginia winters less depressing If you know the works of poets like Ted Kooser or Mary Oliver his writing may feel familiar but he is my favorite poet in this cannon The world Hennen writes about is not exploding with color or obvious beauty the way the American Southwest or mountains are; I think his talent is searching out the uiet beauty of the ordinary landscape Hennen doesn't sugarcoat the cold or plainness of the Minnesota landscape; everything is what it is but the way he writes and creates a sense of place makes me feel like there are tiny beautiful natural things everywhere that deserve our attention just as much as nature's ostentatious offerings Maybe I'm going overboard but I really feel like this collection allowed me to enjoy ordinary neighborhood walks in a way I wouldn't have been able to otherwise It let me see past the boredom of routine and familiarity I don't have to go somewhere special to be impressed any I walk the same one mile loop around my neighborhood for months at a time and still enjoy seeing the same common suburban birds trees flowers and weeds over and over Nature doesn't necessarily need to be extraordinary to be enjoyable I don't love all the poems in the collection but I love enough of them to say this was 10 well spent


  10. says:

    Really enjoyed this Here are two of my favoritesPlains Spadefoot Toad Toads are smarter than frogs Like all of us who are not good looking they have to rely on their wits A woman around the beginning of the last century who was in love with frogs wrote a wonderful book on frogs and toads In it she says if you place a frog and a toad on a table they will both hop The toad will stop just at the table’s edge but the frog with its smooth skin and pretty eyes will leap with all its beauty out into nothingness I tried it out on my kitchen table and it is true That may explain why toads live twice as long as frogs Frogs are better at romance though A pair of spring peepers were once observed whispering sweet nothings for thirty four hours Not by me The toad and I have not moved What the Plants Say Tree give up your secret How can you be so satisfied? Why don’t you need to change location look for a better job find prettier scenery or even want to get away from people? Grass you don’t care where you turn up You appear running loose in the oat field out of a crack in a city street You are the first word in the vocabulary of the earth How is it that you are able to grow so near the lake without falling in? How can you be so alert for the early frost bend in the slightest breeze and yet be so hard to break that you are still there uiet green among the ruins of others? Weed it is you with your bad reputation that I love the most Teach me not to care what anyone has to say about me Help me to be in the world for no purpose at all except for the joy of sun light and rain Keep me close to the edge where everything wild begins


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