the rest of the way
from Finishing Line Press
Praise for The Rest of the Way:
TOM LAUGHLIN takes us outdoors in poetry that brims with the natural elements—we are immersed in New England landscapes with a town green, a mistress moon, snowy woods lined with elfin ski tracks, and swimmable water in every form, which conjures joy and jazz, a Great White, and a night-time pipe-smoking fisherman. Haunting the collection, like a familiar ache, is a wounded and wounding father. Death and tragedy slip in around tender stories of swimming a grasshopper to safety, climbing pencil pines, and James Wright’s hammock. Laughlin’s collection invites us to“[bob] in a universe of stars” as we ponder ‘the rest of the way.’
––Mary Buchinger, author of e i n f ü h l u n g /in feeling and president of the New England Poetry Club.
Since I first heard Tom Laughlin reading it, I’ve loved his tender, mysterious poem “The Late-Summer Day,” with its unlikely subject—the rescue of a grasshopper from the middle of Walden Pond. What a treat to find it in this superb collection. All of Laughlin’s poems have that rare poetic gift—deceptively effortless and full of surprises, his words so thoroughly embody whatever he’s writing about, you can’t help feel that you’re living them.
––Lloyd Schwartz, author of Little Kisses and other books, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Calling up memories as fresh as pine needles and raw as warm eggs, Tom Laughlin’s quick, unflinching narratives of a tough, toughening childhood ring with a sturdy sense of endurance, a quiet insistence that we can make it The Rest of the Way. In more meditative poems, the world much with him, Laughlin floats through the largeness and largesse of nature, “a lone bobber in a universe of stars.” What is longing to a “hot-mooned dusky August day”? What are our human foibles to the thinned ice of a winter cove “resolute…against the clumsy hands of open water”?
––Maggie Dietz, author of That Kind of Happy and other books, former director of the Favorite Poem Project
Whether he’s remembering the past or living in the present, Tom Laughlin takes us with him. Roads and paths, literal and metaphorical, allow us to experience, sometimes in slow motion, what the poet has seen, done, and thought—and then he lets us go “the rest of the way,” as the poems resonate beyond their lovely images, surprising turns, and memorable final lines
––Martha Collins, author of Because What Else Could I Do (winner of Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award) and other books
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