Wednesday, September 7, 2016

George HS Singer's #Ergon - Review

Ergon is a book of poems about a man looking back on, and going through, life. There are some very deep, meaningful poems in this collection. I found myself getting lost among the words and imagery as I read. There are so many wonderful poems here, but I found this one to be my favorite, as it speaks of the sacrifices parents make, and the great love and protectiveness they feel, for their children. As a mom, I can relate.

World Without End

While she lingered at the handsome
neighbor's house, mother did what people do
when battered or bored or simply afraid. 
And father did what young men do after
their wheelless bomber skids down
on desert tarmac while the crewmen
cry out their mothers' names.

They did what the dead have always
done--shouldered bricks on steep
ramps, obeyed the boss, cleaned 
the children's ears with painted 
fingernails, made do with hardened 
bread and onions fried in chicken fat.

They did what animals do--hunger on their
young's account. Mother dished up nubbly
cow's tongue and father
a Motorola TV and blue Rambler.
And so that I too might do what humans do,
they locked the front door to keep love in
where it nuzzled and shielded, spasmed and flailed.

In this slim volume, through his insightful words, Singer demonstrates Ergon: The core function or purpose of something or someone. Virtue arises when the ergon is realized fully. Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics, 1,7, 12)

This is a must read for all lovers of poetry.

About the Book
George Singer’s Ergon is precise, delicate and fierce in its engagement with the world.

George HS Singer, a former Buddhist monk, has written a debut collection of poems about his life as a monk and in the monastery and about his life when he left to marry and have a family. As he tries to balance his spiritual principles with every day life as a husband and father, these poems utilize nature as a backdrop for his quest.

About the Author
George HS Singer, a former Zen Buddhist monk and student of Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett, lives with his wife of forty-two years in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he works as a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara. He was educated at Yale, Southern Oregon University, and the University of Oregon. He wrote poetry in college but took a twenty-year break before taking it up as a regular discipline. He has been a long term student of Molly Peacock and has had the opportunity to work with other marvelous poets through the Frost Place in Franconia, N.H. He writes about life in and out of a Zen monastery, trying to live mindfully in a busy and troubled world, his love of nature and of his wife. The arts have become more central to his life. Singer’s poems were published in the Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, and Tar River Poetry.


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  1. Thanks so much for being on the blog tour

  2. I haven't read any poetry in several months. Might need to pick this up.

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