These poems will surprise you. Their deep concerns are handled in ways that the reader can’t help but be reminded, if not stunned into revelations, concerning the human predicament. Terry Allen’s Art Work opens with the poem Isadora, about one of the most famous avant-garde dancers of the 20th Century. We see in her life the rewards and dangers of opening up to the world, how we are liberated and yet die in the act of liberation, leaving the reader with the echo of her words, no matter the risk, “Don’t let them tame you.” Allen then takes us on a wild ride through history but never abandoning the historical moment to the past, but showing how it touches the present moment, as when he pays tribute to the florescence of ancient Greek playwriting, especially, the comedies of 2,500 years ago, but then the poem begins its closing with these lines: It’s like Bertolt Brecht/said…one shouldn’t fight/dictators one should/ridicule them, and how tragically that sentiment reflects the present day. Reader, these poems are all in the early pages of Art Work. You have so much more to look forward to. From a 1910 Vatican decree against Modernism to the speak-easy years between the two World Wars, to a delightful dialogue between father and son on the way to school as they challenge each other to name famous movie dogs, and expect to find Latin, Cicero, Harry Potter, and Trivial Pursuit banging up against each other in a single poem, all telling us that history never stops revealing itself to us. This book is a masterful achievement.
–Walter Bargen, first Poet Laureate of Missouri and author of Pole Dancing in the Night Club of God
The poems in Art Work are both accessible and engaging. Terry Allen’s involvement in theater and his love of jazz shines through on many pages. This is a collection to read, savor, and read again.
– Karen Loeb, Eau Claire, Wisconsin Writer in Residence, 2018-2020, author of Jump Rope Queen & Other Stories
Terry Allen’s poems pull you in like an intriguing conversation and leave you with a jolt of surprise and smiling at their sly humor.
–Rebecca Graves, librarian, poet, and author of The Racoon at the Bottom of the Stairs
Terry Allen was born in Brisbane, Australia. He is emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he taught theatre arts. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and he is the author of the chapbook, Monsters in the Rain. He lives in Columbia, Missouri with his wife Nancy.
Monsters in the Rain
Publisher: Kelsay Books
Publication date: November 27, 2019
Available for Purchase: Amazon.com
Terry Allen’s chapbook, Monsters in the Rain, begins and ends with two dream-like lyric poems that reach back in time to explore a particular family legacy through the stories passed down across generations and geographical locations. There are beautiful, heart-rending elegies here; and longer, multi-layered narratives that are deepened and expanded through the use of masterfully placed moments of lyric suspension and contemplation. There are characters and relatives whose humanity is fully revealed; there are ghosts and the interplay of the uncanny—an acknowledgment of the fact that, no matter how much time has passed, the dead step in and out of our lives at will. In several of these poems, there is a dark humor that is handled so well it serves to deepen the collection’s pathos. A moving collection that explores family, loss, memory, and history, and with love informing and guiding all these poems, what more can we ask, or hope, for?
—Jude Nutter, author of I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman, and three other collections.
Terry Allen’s poems feature tightly-constructed narratives of family and rural life placed in an American landscape that has been nearly obscured by social media and technology. The settings are concrete and certain: small essential dramas that play out upon the ironing board, the stove, the sidewalk, the barn, in bushel baskets and body bags, with conclusions invariably unforeseen. The tone ranges from whimsical to poignant, occasionally chilling, juxtaposing the casual violence of rural life against the horror of murderous excess. Monsters in the Rain left me with awistful recognition of the ways people vanish from our lives, and what remains
—Bridget Bufford, author of Cemetery Bird and Minus One: A Twelve-Step Journey.
Monsters in the Rain is a collection that resists an easy footing. Allen offers us what initially seems to be fond memories of childhood, thoughtful reflections on family history, but the deeper we go in the poems, the clearer it is that Allen has worked for that thoughtful fondness. He well represents the darkness that shadows the family scenes he presents, but he isn’t ruled by it. Neither bitter nor sentimental, Allen gives us a book that, in its best moments, compassionately exposes the complicated reality of loving and losing.
—Marta Ferguson, author of Mustang Sally Pays Her Debt to Wilson Pickett
Terry Allen was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1946. He is emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he taught theatre arts. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Popshot Quarterly, Into the Void and Main Street Rag. He lives in Columbia, Missouri with his wife Nancy.
Terry’s Poem “Larry” was a winner in 3rd Wednesday’s One Sentenence Poetry Contest. It appears in Volume XIII, No 1.