Archives For Paul Willis

 

Fishing for Poems

 

A Feature Review of

Say this Prayer into the Past: Poems
Paul Willis

Paperback: Wipf and Stock, 2013.
Buy now:  [ Amazon

 Reviewed by Philip Zoutendam

 

I made two mistakes when reading this book. The first time, I didn’t read the first poem carefully enough. The second time, I read it perhaps too carefully and applied it too absolutely.

 

In my defense, the first poem inhabits the no-mans-land between the table of contents and Part 1. I hope this excuses my first mistake. I always half-read introductions: I’m eager to get to the book itself, to cross the border into the territory proper, to read the book rather than read about it.

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“Love of Nature and Love of Language

A review of

The Alpine Tales
By Paul Willis

Review by Joshua Neds-Fox.

Paul Willis - Alpine TalesThe Alpine Tales
Paul Willis.
Paperback: WordFarm, 2010.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Remember childhood afternoons spent exploring the creek? Surely I can’t have been the only one to lose myself among waist-high ferns in my childhood, pretending to be the hero of a fairyland. One afternoon in particular, spent in the forest with distant cousins in Northern Michigan, comes to my mind unbidden again and again, growing more dreamlike as the years go by. The light, the ferns, the complete faith I had in the fantasy world I was building: how did those natural worlds become supernatural, those long afternoons years ago?

Paul Willis knows the answer. A professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, for over 20 years, he’s written chiefly poetry and essays (his second book of poems, Rosing From The Dead, was reviewed by ERB in June 2010). But the early 90’s saw the publication of the first two of these fantasy novels about three generations of mountaineers in the Pacific Northwest. He’s since made it a quartet, and the four are reissued here together as The Alpine Tales (WordFarm, 2010).

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“A Story of Mystery,
Much Larger Than We Are”

A Review of
Rosing From the Dead: Poems
by Paul Willis

Reviewed by Chris Smith.


Rosing From the Dead: Poems
Paul Willis

Paperback: Word Farm, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Rosing from the Dead: Poems by Paul WillisRosing from the Dead, the newest book of poetry from Paul Willis shares its title with a poem about halfway through the volume, in which Willis reflects on his young daughter’s description of Jesus “rosing from the dead” on Easter Sunday.  In that phrase, spoken peculiarly as children are wont to do, Willis considers the possibility that perhaps the resurrection is not unlike a rose in its beauty, wildness and mystery.  These three themes of the title poem run throughout the collection, reflecting a deep reverence throughout for the abundant life not only of humanity, but of all God’s creation.  The poems here are organized into three sections: “Faith of our Fathers,” “Higher Education” and “Signs and Wonders.”  The first two sections, reflect on various aspects of human experience, the third focuses on themes of nature and wilderness.  Specifically, the poems in the book’s first section address family relationships, from naming to dysfunction.  One of the most striking poems here, “Nuclear Family” sketches the story of a nuclear physicist, so fixed on his career and the pursuit of nuclear technologies that could destroy all humanity, doesn’t see the destruction that his own pursuits are wreaking upon his own family.  The poems in this section are written from a variety of perspectives – children, teenagers, parents – and taken together they weave a rich, vibrant tapestry of the complexities and joys of family life.

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