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Otherwise My Life Is Ordinary

Cultural Weekly

Otherwise, My Life is Ordinary
By Bobby Byrd
Cinco Puntos Press

Bobby Byrd’s poetry is cut from the same cloth that was worn by William Carlos Williams. Byrd writes about working in the garden and everyday conversations. The 50 poems in this collection as Luis Alberto Urrea notes, “are made of memory, love, place and a kind of bluesy Zen.” Byrd grew up in the South, Memphis, Tennessee, to be specific, and now lives in El Paso, Texas. The poems in this book are prefaced by a potent essay, “How Did This Happen?” Among many insightful passages in this preface, he says, “I used to tell my kids, and now I tell my grandkids that I’d be dead without black music. Race music. 1950s Memphis music. It was a cultural revolution for us white kids growing up in the South.” The influence of soul permeates every page. Byrd uses poetry to turn the lens on himself and his revelations are both profound and funny simultaneously.
Another passage from his Introduction offers an excellent summary of his work. Byrd writes: “My poetics are simple enough. Nothing new really. No manifesto. I believe in those experiences that open up holes in understanding. Sometimes it’s a word or phrase spoken on the street; other times I can be watching a beetle climbing lonesome down a concrete curb or my beloved and I can be making love. I think of these times as a spiritual experience because I let go.” With poems like “Poetry is Waiting for me in the Other Room,” and “I Make a Good Pot of Beans,” Byrd demonstrates his expertise at making the ordinary into something extraordinary. This poet is a master craftsmen and it shows in every poem.
- Mike Sonksen , January 21, 2015  Visit Website

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