Words and
Music Riffs

By Shelby Stephenson

Hiram Larew turns loose the syllables like steam on water in his 2021 book, Mud Ajar, from Atmosphere Press. His words do not sink up in stirred up mud. At times I feel as if I can almost see through the mud, as the poet shakes form and content to create Poetry.

In “Quiet Come” —

All is up


all is sky

In “Ode to the Edge” —

all arrows lift their grateful views

sung-up like curves

the call of bogs

where edge surrounds

Listen to these few lines from “Mud Ajar,”
the title poem —

Here where beaks are barns

that loop through when

as rain lifts praise

on trill of rakes. 

In “Listened Twigs” listen to Larew’s lines —

These trees a choir

in early fine

their waking limbs

When snowflakes hear within themselves

of how beginning sounds.

Every syllable sings: example, these words from “Sign a Lease” —

When the skies boil or bloom

go sweep the stoop.  PS

Hiram Larew is the founder of Poetry X Hunger which inspires writers all over the world to combat hunger. In Mud Ajar, the music quakes and the sky blazes all over again.

Shelby Stephenson was poet laureate of North Carolina from 2015-18. His recent book is Praises from Main Street Rag Publishing Company.

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