Communication. Language. As poets, we are supposed to know how it works," writes Robert L. Dean, Jr. in the preface to his luminous first book of poetry, "At the Lake with Heisenberg." He then demonstrates that indeed he does know how it works. Here are poems that address the rhapsodies of my memory ("They Run Free Like a River of Wild Horses / in the high synapse valleys / where the grass is young and tender...") or the mundane back roads of the small-town America ("...the bare-assed-naked wind-bread straining to / break wind over a field of porcelain toilets...") in language equally imbued with surprising imagery and unique lexicon. Pick up a copy of Bob Dean's book and let him communicate with you. -Roy Beckemeyer, author of "Stage Whispers"
About the Author
Robert L. Dean, Jr.'s work has appeared in Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Illya's Honey, Red River Review, River City Poetry, Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity, and the Wichita Broadside Project. He read at the 13th Annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival in April 2018 at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, and the Chikaskia Literary Festival 2018 at Northern Oklahoma College, Tonkawa campus. His haibun placed first at Poetry Rendezvous 2017. He was a finalist in the 2014 Dallas Poets Community chapbook contest and a quarter- finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry contest. He is event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music held annually in Wichita, Kansas. He has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News. He is a member of the Kansas Authors Club and lives in a one-hundred-year-old stone building in Augusta, Kansas, along with a universe of several hundred books, CDs, LPs, two electric basses and a couple dozen hats.
In this collection, Bob reveals the darkness within the light, and the light within the darkness. My favorites highlight the light, such as how this no-nonsense meditation on mortality begins, "When I am gone / burn me / When I am ash / scatter me." The collection contains a number of sparkling meditations on art, ekphrastic poems, including poems about Hopper's "Nighthawks" and Gorey's "Seventeen Cats..." In the Gorey ekphrastic, this tender line emerges, "you spy / one autumn yellow maple leaf...your grandson's rake missed...you pick it up, / try to tuck it, carefully, / into your jacket pocket, / only to feel it crumble..." That gesture gets at the heart of this collection, an attempt to preserve the present and the past. Although the world may be subtly crumbling around us, we can still preserve the best of it in verse. A smart and soulful book." -Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas, 2017-2019