“Heartfelt verses written for a beloved pet have no doubt graced the journal pages of many a would-be poet. With Dogs and Disturbance, William Edmund Evans elevates this type of poem to a new level, offering pieces that share his personal experiences with his dogs and family in language that resonates with soulfulness.
The poems are not so much about dogs as they are about the way our animal companions teach us about living and dying.”
Margaret Fedder, Foreword Review
Dogs and Disturbance was awarded a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Honorable Mention
“Most interesting are italicized passages that appear like codas on the end of poems. These seem to come in the speaker’s voice, and they mix formal syntax with emotional vulnerability. A longer passage in this vein closes ‘Life by Life:’
“We are this forest cut to fringe a heart once growing wild my thriving oak is gone.
Cold space and time to see! beyond this galaxy a mercy dwelling there.
Be quiet now the wind will play, be restful child be still I have chimes to sing you home.”
“Narrative, lyric, and elegiac, Southern Son spirals through the speaker’s trauma in a poetic cycle that’s unrelenting in its attempt to capture a life that’s already gone before the words hit the page.”
Letitia Montgomery-Rogers, Foreword Reviews, June 12, 2017
Not to Touch
“Intense and interesting, this poetry collection features a rawness of emotion deeply felt and adeptly conveyed.
“William Edmund Evans’s latest collection of poetry, Not to Touch, is an intense and interesting follow-up to the intimate Dogs and Disturbance, which was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Honorable Mention in the pets category.
“It is difficult to not be simply struck by many of Evans’s well-crafted lines, particularly moments like “the trees / a pale green gauze / tinged a winter starkness” that tease out the beauty of the outer world that can be so difficult to capture with language. Standout pieces like “Birth, What Was to Follow,” “The Dead Cry from their Place,” and the lovely “Dreams of Living on a Point” are full of imagery both tender and stark; all three point toward a rawness of emotion deeply felt and adeptly conveyed.”
Margaret Fedder, Foreword Review
Love in Winter
“Love in Winter Missing Ryan reaches for the art of poetry to clothe a father’s naked grief.
“Love in Winter collects poems written in the long season of grief. As its speaker navigates the first winter after his son’s suicide, winter proves to be more than just a few months’ passage: it becomes a season of the soul.
“Divided into five sections, these sixty poems are occasionally endmarked with the season and year of their composition. The implied chronology is linear. While time may be experienced linearly, grief and memory aren’t, so this organization fights against the narrative impulse of the poems’ wider arc. Assembling a story from the raw, often abstract emotions and contexts of the volume requires a significant amount of work off of the page. High on dissonance and with occasional narrative gestures, these poems are an assemblage of emotions, experiences, memories, and images that imply rather than state their purposes.
“Snows of a Dream” stands as the volume’s ars poetica, stating,
Still it could be possible winter yet may cauterize the bleeding out
least offer flash freeze images parsed to clean abstraction staring toward the north
launched south now closing in, a shirtless man false courage his pale strategy taunts a beggar trying art.
“There’s a sprawling range to the selected poems that exhibits the tension between the title’s two elements. “Love in Winter” and “Missing Ryan” are both powerful engines, and their union opens up a broad space for exploration. Winter, birds, and nature; religion, art, and fate; and rituals, history, and tragedy are frequent themes. The poems themselves range from intensely personal and almost spare reflections to long narratives that explore the interconnection between the speaker’s personal history and outside events.
“Often, the connections the speaker finds between his personal grief and the larger world are surprising. In poems like “Ghost from Eden,” parental grief offers him a point of intercession into Middle Eastern domestic terrorism while also illustrating grief’s demanding, avaricious self-absorption.
“But the sheer scope of the book’s topical influences—which makes several of the poems individually interesting—doesn’t add up to a whole volume that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
“There’s an open-endedness to many of the poems. The shorter poems are the least affected, their brevity lending itself to easier intuitive leaps between the content and its implications. What happens in the leap is often beautiful, as in “I Know the Moon,” which opens with “I know the moon by science” and closes with “I know by science you are gone.” The poem’s imagery and language carry a vast, unspoken freight.
“In longer poems, the impulse toward implication with scant explication is given free play without equal attention given to language’s power, merit, and weight. Several poems address racism, but a lack of context and relevant details makes their messages and intentions unclear, particularly when racially charged language is used. The results are lackluster, and longer poems’ attenuation enervates their ability to deliver the same lightning shock of distillation.
“In “Compelled to Witness,” the speaker states, “Art’s a poor man’s sable / a father’s threadbare comfort.”
Love in Winter reaches for art to clothe a father’s naked grief, grasping onto whatever impulse is offered, no matter how raw or disparate it seems, no matter how far afield it takes him.”