The following is a book review I completed for Stone Path Review.
Review of “Sugartown”, by Kevin Zepper
Publisher: Finishing Line Press, 2012
“Sugartown” is the fourth book from Minnesota-based author Kevin Zepper. In this poetry collection, the title and lead poem are homage to harvesting sugar near Moorhead, MN.
Through a writing style utilizing alliteration and word play (an internal rhythm with quick rhymes) a structure emerges that resembles music playing from across fields of grass and wheat. There is a beat here that the reader begins to hum, sing, and tap with the hand that is not holding book.
Another important facet of Kevin’s writing style is its accessibility. I would not call it simple, but rather down-to-earth and digestible, not pompous. The reader feels that Kevin is an observer and that he is one of us, telling a bit of a story, but not giving everything away. Space is left for the reader to relate to an image or situation. In fact, I can still smell the potato salad mom and pops used to make for every picnic while reading the piece “Potato Salad!”.
Each poem offers a look at life now and in the past from somewhere in the heartland of this country. I believe each reader will find something they can relate to and be transported to that moment.
These four poems I found to be particularly well-written and full of words playing not just to sight, but all of the sense.
- “Cinnamon” – A poem that filled my mind with sharp and salty images of a MN autumn with lines such as “A season seasoned with thyme and cayenne”. The images hang there and even provide a smell to give each definition.
- “Potato Salad!”
Previous collections by Kevin Zepper
- I Bring You Dead Things (2008)
- The Fifth Ramone: Prose Poems (2003)
- (Suffering from) An Apartment Complex