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Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade, 2004-2014 Paperback – 1 Apr 2014

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5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews from Amazon.com

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"In these poems of loss, discovery and love, David Mason delivers a stunning collection that places him in a unique position in American letters. With language both simple and elegant, comprehending deeply if not always comfortably the human landscape, and finding solace in the natural world, his lines remind us that pathos lies alongside humor, that profound moments are often merely a glance away, that new possibilities in the business of "living "arise for those bold enough to seek them. In his embrace of tradition Mason transforms and ultimately transcends the form, making it wholly his own. A masterful poet, apart from the crowd." --Jeffrey Lent

"David Mason's poems are about moments of realisation. Something is otherwise. Something has been learned with pain and still it won't settle. There are families moving through houses and institutions, ageing, losing grip, and there are the young and rising and memories of youth. The language is humane, unfussy, firm, moving but not calculated to move. And beyond the personal there is the country as it spreads through its inhabitants and leaves its mark on nature. 'Nobody gave me a god, ' ends one poem, 'so I perfect my idolatry of doubt.' It is the doubt that is moving, the way it rounds itself and speaks."
--George Szirtes
""Go to the heart of things, therein irony does not reside", Rilke tells us. These words came to my mind often as I read this newest collection from one of our country's finest poets. Mason's formal excellence is cause enough to celebrate these poems, but it is the emotional honesty, sentiment not sentimentality, that makes "Sea Salt" such a deeply moving and memorable reading experience." --Ron Rash

In these poems of loss, discovery and love, David Mason delivers a stunning collection that places him in a unique position in American letters. With language both simple and elegant, comprehending deeply if not always comfortably the human landscape, and finding solace in the natural world, his lines remind us that pathos lies alongside humor, that profound moments are often merely a glance away, that new possibilities in the business of living arise for those bold enough to seek them. In his embrace of tradition Mason transforms and ultimately transcends the form, making it wholly his own. A masterful poet, apart from the crowd. Jeffrey Lent
David Mason s poems are about moments of realisation. Something is otherwise. Something has been learned with pain and still it won t settle. There are families moving through houses and institutions, ageing, losing grip, and there are the young and rising and memories of youth. The language is humane, unfussy, firm, moving but not calculated to move. And beyond the personal there is the country as it spreads through its inhabitants and leaves its mark on nature. Nobody gave me a god, ends one poem, so I perfect my idolatry of doubt. It is the doubt that is moving, the way it rounds itself and speaks.
George Szirtes
Go to the heart of things, therein irony does not reside, Rilke tells us. These words came to my mind often as I read this newest collection from one of our country s finest poets. Mason s formal excellence is cause enough to celebrate these poems, but it is the emotional honesty, sentiment not sentimentality, that makes Sea Salt such a deeply moving and memorable reading experience. Ron Rash"

About the Author

David Mason is the Poet Laureate of Colorado. His books of poems include The Buried Houses, The Country I Remember, and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, won the Colorado Book Award in 2007, and was named Best Book of Contemporary Poetry of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review. It was also featured on the PBS NewsHour. Mason is the author of an essay collection, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, and a memoir, News from the Village, which appeared in 2010. A new collection of essays, Two Minds of a Western Poet, followed in 2011. Mason has also written the libretti for composer Lori Laitman s opera of The Scarlet Letter, her operatic adaptation of Ludlow, and her oratorio, Vedem. A former Fulbright fellow to Greece, he lives in Colorado and Oregon and teaches at Colorado College."

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mason's New Collection a Winner 2 April 2014
By Carol W. Bachofner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The long-awaited new collection of poems by David Mason (Sea Salt by Red Hen) has finally arrived and I am excited. The book was barely out of its wrappings and I was IN it with my pencil making notes, looking at what Mason does that is so wonderful. I used to hold myself back from writing in other people's books, but I must do it to remind myself of how great poems are made.

As a New Expansionist poet, David Mason has the skills to underpin every poem with subtlety of meter, rhyme, and diction that makes them memorable. His use of rhyme and meter (largely iambic) is adept to say the least. Looking at his masterful sonnet, Another Thing, one may at first think this a free-verse poem because the poem does not scream !SONNET! but rather lets the reader slide into the form on the back of the diction and subtle rhythms. There is not an ounce of contrivance there. Line breaks and off-rhyme make the sonnet's frame seem invisible except to the highly trained reader. No matter. If a good poem is what you crave, consume this one and don't worry about analyzing the structure.

I am drawn to the diction of poems such as The Man Who Lied. "scab man, scar man" and "giver, taker, crazy friend" set the poem in the reality of humankind, and do so in a fresh way that makes this poem memorable, if brief. Of course there are the ever-present rhythms that make the poem move smooth and slick in the head. No "touch and run" this poem sticks. It is but one example of many where the diction carries the narrative to new heights of understanding. "4 July 11" is another such poem. The narrative may seem simple enough until the reader realizes that the diction is making a double picture, one of celebration and one of fist-raising:

"chrysanthemums of fire blossom" and "another birthday, but the heart is flat champagne" are but two examples of what the diction does to create dichotomy in this fine poem.

And Mason uses diction skill to let us know something new about love:

In the poem, "Night and My Love," Mason tells the night to "come suffocate us with your love" and we are quickly ready for being taken on by night. And Mason knows how to break us in two over love.

"... break the bed in furious loving
break all of us upon your bluest anvil..."

At several points in the reading of this poem I had to stop, take a deep breath before moving on. Why? Because this is how love works, how night can participate in love, and how we can be fully human only when we love and are loved. It doesn't get better than that.

Several of the poems, although I had read them elsewhere (the collection is a decade of poems) seem somehow brand new. "Fog Horns" is just such a poem. Its five syllable structure mirrors the beating of the horn against the tide, the haze of seascape, and our own heartbeats. I close my eyes and am there with the sound, the place, the loneliest places in our own lives. "Nothing was done then./Nothing was ever/done.Then it was done."

The fully evocative "Die When You Die" is another stellar poem, brief as life and as full. It is a poem I will commit to memory. How can I not when it is a poem that can subtly remind me of the fragility of human life and my responsibility, hinted at so well, to look at my fellow humans as the way they are and nothing more or less.

In summary, I find not one poem I'd have excluded from this new collection. David Mason wins my heart a little here, and most certainly my admiration ... from one poet to another.
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book of poems from a great poet 3 Oct. 2015
By Daniel Klawitter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A fine book of poems from a great poet, essayist and author of the wonderful verse novel, Ludlow, which won the Colorado Book Award in 2007.

If you are not a fan of "postmodern", academic/workshop poetry, you will appreciate this book. Mason actually is a college teacher, but with a healthy skepticism for those poets in the academy who write primarily for critics and/or other poets. In other words, you don't have to "know" poetry to like this book. It is both deeply felt and written in an understated way that plays with form, rhyme, and meter. Mason manages to combine the narrative with the lyrical in a very appealing and unassuming manner. Here is an example:

4 July 11

From over the ridge, chrysanthemums of fire
burst into color. One hears the pop-pop-pop
of another birthday, but the heart is flat champagne.

Who cares about freedom, and Damn King George?
Who cares about sirens out in city lights?
I've got enough to fight about right here,

the howitzer let loose inside my ribs,
the thudding ricochet from hill to hill,
from hurt to hurt. Hard birth. Hard coming to.
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