Water under Water
Charles Adés Fishman
Publisher: Casa de Snapdragon Publishing LLC
Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9840530-2-5
List Price: $16.95


Review by Laurel Johnson

Finding a new book of poetry by Charles Adès Fishman in my mailbox is a blessing because I know from past experience that treasure rests between the covers. His awards are many, including a Pulitzer nomination which is an award in itself. In this latest book, he reveals with exceptional finesse the many layers of human existence. "Loon Hunting on Newry Mountain" is the first poem in the book. This excerpt shares water´s power and the metaphor it becomes in the imagination of a skilled wordsmith:

    We learned that water wore no pinions
    but swiftness and, under the light strength of white pine,
    translucence: always deceitful, promising clairvoyance
    at each arabesque and ripple.

"Whapmagoostui" transports readers to the mouth of a river north of Quebec. This beautiful poem shares the richness of an ancient culture - primordial forests, translucent waterways teeming with fish, and the music of its people:

After sundown, a red hunter´s moon rises
over the stalking ground of the Cree nation.
Lodges are fragrant with elk skins, with evergreen
boughs. The night is bisected, then quartered,
by shimmering light that spangles the black dream
of hills. Water burns with the light.

In ways large and small, Earth´s essence connects us to her heart. In this excerpt from "Quiet River," Fishman shows us the wonders to be found if we only watch and listen:

Incessant clatter of grasshopper wings
in the sea of drying stalks: when they gust up
against my chest, a blizzard of crisp gray bodies,
it is as if a deaf heart outside me
has started beating.

Two long poems in this book are so touching my heart ached while reading them. "In the Path of Lightning" connects life´s trials and foibles with a fragile thread. And in "Saturday Night Two Step" the boy and man examines the essence of his parents. To excerpt either of these two fine poems would be a sacrilege on my part. You´ll have to read them in their entirety to absorb their joys and sorrows. In fact, there are many exceptional poems in this book. Fishman´s work here is memorable and highly recommended.

Laurel Johnson
Kansas, USA


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