By Mark Danowsky, Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal
Tripping Over Memorial Day is available on Amazon:
Poems like “Since I Have More Past Than Future” and “All So Long and So Soon Over” give the reader a sense of the place Kozinski speaks from in this collection’s poems. It is a place of loss and nostalgia, yet still the offer of hope for future pleasures and memories.
Kozinski’s close attention to the line, his diction and, in particular, sound, make these poems pop off the page. I encourage readers to reflect on mouth-feel in the following phrases:
“Again, a tongue reaches down from far above / to lick your ear with a mellifluous subornation.”
[from] “Getting to War”
“cold shushes the gossip”
[from] “New Year”
“Those I must dust most I will hand down first”
[from] “Love Lingers on the Chaise”
There’s an underlying unease that creeps into many Kozinski poems—a force with potentially ill intentions. Whatever this force is, speakers of these poems often subtly nudge the reader to be on high alert.
“Because the salting trucks crumbled the curbs / the weeds will have their way.”
“Best to travel here in the light, / to look like you know where you are.”
[from] “On the First Afternoon of Spring”
“At first I didn’t know / it had come to stay”
“pushed by the dark, rising”
[from] “Out My West Window”
Moments in Kozinski’s poems linger in the back of your mind.
Imagine a boy who thinks his mother
can sew a stovepipe hat for a box turtle,
can catch autumn in a jar of red leaves,
a daughter who dreamt her father built a fire
high enough to warn the world.
[from] “Imagine This House Empty”
Kozinski’s poem “Boxwood” concludes:
Last autumn with the leaf blower
I uncovered a robin, lifeless on the ground,
left alone. They haven’t the tools to bury
their dead and wouldn’t waste time
and strength on rites if they did.
It’s hard enough just making new ones.
David P. Kozinski is the author of Loopholes (The Broadkill Press) which won the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. Awards include the Delaware Literary Connection’s 2015 spring poetry prize and the 2007 Dr. Eugene Szatkowski Achievement Award for his poetry and visual art. He was one of ten poets selected by Robert Bly for a workshop sponsored by American Poetry Review. His poetry has appeared in more than 25 publications, in print and online. Kozinski serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center in Philadelphia, where he has hosted readings and conducted a poetry workshop for adults. He has also led workshops for teens at the Montgomery County Youth Center and at Roosevelt High School, both in Pennsylvania, for Expressive Path, a non-profit organization that encourages youth participation in the arts. He serves as Art Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal Online and lives in Wilmington, Delaware.