I first came across the American poet Todd Boss in Poetry magazine, where a number of his poems have appeared in recent years, and instantly enjoyed his demotic, witty and deftly musical style. I was chuffed, then, to receive his first collection Yellowrocket as a present recently, which at over a 100 pages is a lengthy and rewarding read. His poems - charting the recurrent themes of landscapes, language, kids, love and marriage with intelligence, subtlety, real feeling and humour - bring to mind the likes of Frost and Auden, but also bear comparison to more contemporary poets such as Armitage, Kleinzahler, and, at times, the late Michael Donaghy. He is definitely a poet worthy of your attention, and a friendly chap too, as he recently kindly granted me permission to reprint his poem 'The Hush of the Very Good' here on the Wasteland. If you enjoy it, I really encourage you to buy Yellowrocket - published by W.W. Norton you can find it here, and Boss's website with recordings of him reading his work is here.
The Hush of the Very Good
You can tell by how he lists
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxto let her
kiss him, that the getting, as he gets it,
xxxxxxxxxIt’s good in the sweetly salty,
deeply thirsty way that a sea-fogged
rain is good after a summer-long bout
of inland drought.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAnd you know it
when you see it, don’t you? How it
drenches what’s dry, how the having
of it quenches.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxThere is a grassy inlet
where your ocean meets your land, a slip
that needs a certain kind of vessel,
when that shapely skiff skims in at last,
trimmed bright, mast lightly flagging
left and right,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxthen the long, lush reeds
of your longing part, and soft against
the hull of that bent wood almost im-
perceptibly brushes a luscious hush
the heart heeds helplessly—
of the very good.
poem by Todd Boss
from Yellowrocket (W.W. Norton, 2008)
first published in Poetry, February 2007