Thievery by Seth Abramson

Today marks the end of National Poetry Month, and I hope that you found some great poets and poetry collections to try this month. I’m especially pleased that we had so many participants for the Friday activities. See all of you next year for another blog tour of poetry, but I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of this year too. If you missed some of the posts this month, just click here and scroll through.

The action of the poems in Thievery by Seth Abramson, published by the University of Akron Press, occur in between the silences and the pauses of each line break and each trick phrase, highlighting the theft of what has been stolen.  From the innocence of our children to the rallying of small towns around their own even when the most horrifying things occur.  Abramson performs a sleight of hand in his poems, changing their trajectory at a moment’s notice, calling attention to the illusions that are around us everyday.

From "Chronophrenia, Part VII"

At the end of traveling
I wear the road.  Within my skin it is bad.
It's worst without --
the particulates of being nowhere entirely.
From "Chronophrenia, Part VIII," the poet asks:

Do you pay
for each silence, and if so
why start.  Can I admit this thing,
can I clothe myself
in something like it, is it time now.
Does the time come.  Does it ever.

Are we too afraid to speak up or to change the world around us and make it better, or have we just become too complacent.  This silence and complacency is a pervasive problem Abramson tackles in his poems and what the possible consequences of that silence is.  In “Only,” “If it moves/I see it coming, sometimes I do/I swear.  I have been in the places things/were coming true/that were unwanted, in places/things went/unwell, where things went and went//”  (page 37)  There is an unraveling that these poems want to bring into the light for closer examination, though it could be the unraveling of our morality or our societies — with some poems being more ambiguous than others.  Additionally, there are several poems that focus on the abuse of men at the hands of women, like in “Hometown Courage” where the man is held down by women and in “Poem for Battered Man.”

From "All You Ploughboys":

I am sure
to do something horrible.  Half the wood is
halfway there.
And half this town is half in love with itself,
but me I go all the way.

Thievery by Seth Abramson is subtle, and at times too much so, in its exploration of change throughout society and within individuals as it asks readers and others when is the time to stand up and to create change for a better world. When is the time for us to stop the thieving from others and ourselves? These are questions that should be asked and should be met with action.

About the Poet:
Seth Abramson is the author of The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009). In 2008 he was awarded the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize by Poetry. A former public defender, he currently attends the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Please check out his blog.

Please click the image below for the latest tour stop on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour!

This is my 17th book for the Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013.

This is my 26th book for the 2013 New Authors Challenge.


  1. I wonder why, with the message of speaking up to change the world, the poems are so subtle? I like the idea of them changing at a moment’s notice, though. Sounds interesting.

    Thanks for hosting the National Poetry Month Tour. You can count on me for next year, of course. 🙂

    • I liked the subtlety but there were some poems that called for more I think. My favorite poems were those that surprisingly changed. I hope we can get more poetry month tour participants.