Source: Meryl L. Moss Media Relations
Paperback, 80 pgs
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Free Air: Poems by Joe Wenke is a satirical collection of poems that deftly plays with rhythm and rhyme. These poems appear at first glance to be off-the-cuff statements and observations, but that’s if they are taken too seriously. Take the “Lament of an Old Man” who is saddened by the passing of time and facing his own mortality where the narrator jokes about how he is just getting the hang of life and it is about to end. There’s a self-deprecating humor at play here, but aren’t these many of the same observations we make as we age?
Readers will enjoy these playful pieces in which the narrator is tricked by his own brain in “I Think Without Thinking.” Wenke is almost whimsical in his choice of words, ensuring that they rhyme or provide the necessary sing-song nature of these poems. However, there are some beautiful poems as well that are less about being humorous, though they still may contain humor. One of my favorites, “Star Stuff,” begins with a quote from Carl Sagan and how we are made of star stuff because our DNA is made of nitrogen, iron, calcium, and other elements found in collapsing stars.
From "Star Stuff" (pg. 33) 1 Billions of years ago, millions of light years away, we made a pact inside a star to meet again. Was it that distant memory, a sweet explosion of wills, that brightened your face as you turned to meet me again? 2 I've waited for you, my love, in all the familiar, desolate places, in train stations, bus stations, airports and apartments. I've waited for your return from New York City, Hartford, Boston and Rome. I've waited across the vacuum of space, across the emptiness of our former lives, across distances beyond all but our imaginations.
Free Air: Poems by Joe Wenke is a fine collection to pass a warm, spring day reading in the sun. Stopping to chuckle at the lines or to reflect on the deeper meaning. But there is much more beneath the surface of these lines, as Wenke seeks to raise awareness about how “free” we really are and how finite the time we have is.
About the Poet:
Joe Wenke is a writer, LGBTQ activist and the founder and publisher of Trans Über, a publishing company with a focus on promoting LGBTQ rights, free thought and equality for all people. Wenke received a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in English from Penn State and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut.