BOOKS: Echosystem: Poems & Poem Cycles

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1993:

Echosystem: Poems & Poem Cycles, by James Strecker. Mini Mocho
Press (Jackson Stn., POB 57424, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8P 4X2), 1993, 94
pages, paperback.
In this eclectic collection of jazz
poems, romantic poems, socially relevant
and commemorative poems, James
Strecker frequently considers the plight of
animals in a world dominated by humans.
These, too, reflect a diversity of approach.
Vivisection and the Cat, for example, is a
jazz riff with a blues beat. Like the more
classically structured Thoughts on Reading
and Writing, it dwells on the unspeakable
and offers little hope of redemption.

A Trapper’s True Story is
arguably the finest poem of this group. “I
once was a trapper,” Strecker writes, “and
where I made footsteps / I echoed a shadow
of blood.” This clear, melodic language,
used here to relate a trapper’s epiphany,
imbues the best of his work with unforget-
table urgency.
In Reborn to the Living, Strecker
makes a metaphoric return to humanity’s
birthplace. “In the wild / beast’s heart the
world begins, but I am / abstract to my
earth, and to the great sun / I bring my
small fire and I am not forever,” he writes.
And, he admits, “I have read too many
books / and hacked my dreams apart and
touched / their molecules.”
––Cathy Young Czapla
[Czapla is herself author of three critically
acclaimed poetry collections.]
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