Book Review – Sugartown

The following is a book review I completed for Stone Path Review.


Review of “Sugartown”, by Kevin Zepper
Publisher: Finishing Line Press, 2012

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sugartown-Kevin-Zepper/dp/1599249820/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1377393099&sr=8-2&keywords=kevin+zepper

“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.
  • “Sugartown”
  • “Potato Salad!”
  • “Jeanne”

Previous collections by Kevin Zepper

  • I Bring You Dead Things (2008)
  • The Fifth Ramone: Prose Poems (2003)
  • (Suffering from) An Apartment Complex

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