In This Place: Tom Montag’s spare, sweeping retrospective

A week before I visited the National Gallery’s new Andrew Wyeth retrospective, I had gotten my hands on Tom Montag’s new In This Place: Selected Poems 1982 – 2013. In This Place is a retrospective of sorts, too, though by a man who is sometimes called a “minor regional poet.” Montag’s regionalism, though, is like… Continue reading In This Place: Tom Montag’s spare, sweeping retrospective

Exclusive interview with Tom Montag, author of the Big Book of Ben Zen

There’s a quiet beauty in these simple poems that brings me back to them again and again. Part of why the Ben Zen poems work, it seems to me, is their setting. Here is a vaguely Chinese character who speaks like a Zen master and is transplanted to the upper middle west. The references to… Continue reading Exclusive interview with Tom Montag, author of the Big Book of Ben Zen

Improvements

He looked at the old house, then turned and said, “We’ll be married before it needs paint again.” She squeezed the bristles under the spigot, and her hands ached with white water. Dark hair stuck out from the front of her paper cap; she pushed a tuft behind an ear with the moist back of… Continue reading Improvements

The poet among us

Click here to read my interview with Tom about his calling as a poet and about his book, The Big Book of Ben Zen. The cover is nice, but I prefer to judge Tom Montag’s The Big Book of Ben Zen by its paper. The book is mostly paper, and the words seem comfortable with that.… Continue reading The poet among us