If you know of a Northern Colorado literary event (book signing, reading, etc.) that is not included in this blog, or have a link to a literary site that you like, or just want to share a wonderful word, send a message with the details to beth@secondletter.com. Click here for submission guidelines.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

A Review of Moons and Saints

I am writing this fast on the heels the tonight’s reading by Joseph Hutchinson and Lisa Zimmerman while still in the glow of it, because what a glow it is!  I have just Zoomed off (or out?), silenced the voices. Yet not. They stay.  My room is both quiet and full. 

We owe thanks to Joseph Hutchinson, for introducing us to “rescued” poems. If a phrase can be a neologism, then this is a great one, and I predict its rapid entry into poetic parlance. 

I am quite sure that some drafts of poems are NOT worthy of rescue (I will spare you examples from my own bone pile!).  But Hutchinson’s are VERY deserving (he made them so) and I think they inspired all listening to peruse their sketch books for the orphans awaiting us.

Themes of water and darkness—I share Lisa’s sentiment: these are a few of my favorite things!  Hutchinson’s description of Yellowstone Falls took me deeply into my own late afternoon visit followed by scuffing back in the moonless dark, a dark that was darker than any dark.  I want to write about that. Don’t you just love how poems beget ideas for other poems?

So much more I could say about Hutchinson’s poems and his reading tonight, but blog posts are meant to be short and this one is already not.  Go forth and read him yourself: https://www.jhwriter.com/under-the-sleeps-new-moon/

“I did not want to throw out the saints with the Catholic bath water.” So said Lisa Zimmerman tonight in her introduction to the poems in her new chapbook: a deliberate, meticulously researched examination of and homage to some of the (mostly) lesser Catholic saints. 

But don’t be put off by the saints part if you are not Catholic (I am, but once removed), because really these are meditations on “the bravery of kindness,” strong women (and the men and women they birth!), family and what awaits us (around the corner as well as “where the sidewalk ends.”)   These saints, with their magically realistic lives, deaths and afterlives, have much to teach us, and Zimmerman illuminates their creeds and cautions with remarkable language.  Read her: https://mainstreetragbookstore.com/product/sainted-lisa-zimmerman/


  1. Beth, I appreciate your appreciation! I like your line about "how poems beget other poems." They do, as paintings beget other paintings and songs beget other songs. Not that there are not great artists who come along and seem to spring from the air we breathe, but the truth is that every great artist springs from soil worked for years and years by others. Writing seems like a solitary occupation, but we're all at work toward the same goal: to say what it as like to exist on this day, in this week, this month, this year, this era. No wonder we keep discovering fine poets who were overlooked in their time but now seem to speak crucially to that time! Robert Lowell, in "The Dolphin," ends with that marvelous line: "my eyes have seen what my hand did." That clarity is all we have the right to expect....

  2. Thanks for your comment, Joseph. I really like this blog to be interactive!