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While I am a child of the nineties from an Asian American background and will never know Roman Catholic guilt and Brooklyn stickball in the street, looking through Jim Hart's one good eye is plenty for me to experience flashes of the anger, pain, joy and love that he has experienced. The poems are sometimes witty, sometimes sweet, occasionally fiery but always interesting. There is a coherence and voice that is pervasive through the collection which helps make you appreciate the facets of this interesting author an the adventures in his mind as much as his neighborhood.
A fascinating read. There were times when I would pause for a few minutes to imagine the situations and visualize the colors. While I'm lucky enough to live in New York, I feel like those who can't walk by a Brooklyn brownstone may just get the chance if they pick this book up.
My favorite is "Dead Letter Drop."
All of this was achieved by diving into Jim Hart’s collection of poems Ramblings of a One-Eyed Garbage Man, conceived by keen observations and driven by the poet’s emotions.
I swam with ease and learned new strokes on every page as this heartfelt poet delivered perfect pictures complete with emotions. There were odours and temperatures I was unaware of.
To top it off Hart manages to slip in the humorous at points where the reader has just dried a pair of admiring eyes. We are all millionaires; it’s just that some can also write poetry. Go on, treat yourself!
What Hart has given us is a window to his past, his childhood growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s, which was an exciting time to be growing up in the midst of the Cold War, rock and roll and the Eisenhower presidency. You'll enjoy these snapshots and glimpses of life which reveal much more after you have read them a few times. And it's not because you might have missed something, but it's in the richness of language that Hart uses and the images he conjures up for us. In "Dead Letter Drop," a long overdue letter is finally delivered and although it's ironic that the postage due still needs to be collected, it's the contents of the letter which shocks us because we already know what has happened to the writer of the letter. This poem is brilliant.
Hart does this a lot in this collection--shocks us and reminds us continually of the fragility of our world. And sometimes he has fun. In "Leaps of Faith" he writes about the "duck and cover" drills which were supposed to protect school children from an atomic blast and other mundane routines that school kids moaned about having to do, but when poor school kid wets his pants, that is something worth noting: everything else seems to pale in comparison.
There are many more moments of brilliance in this collection that you will savor. I highly recommend this collection and this glimpse of life in the 50s and 60s. You most definitely will find yourself reading and re-reading this collection many times.
Author of Ice Cream Headache
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Recommended reading for everyone.Read more