|For Liz in Summer
The poppies I gave her grew, but California poppies
in Minnesota soil, so timid, but lush, with few blooms.
Nearby, bachelor buttons, rue, pansies, hollyhocks:
plain, introverted flowers we both loved as children,
imagined as playmates in lonely summer passions.
Never a neat garden, never blooms in orderly rows
like her mother’s, blossoms marching in regiment
all the way into autumn. Instead, plants where
they chose to grow, weeds sometimes, trees needing
tending. What she wanted was a system
chaotic as the universe, contrary as her life:
desire, despair, delight; friends who asked everything;
silent, covert lovers; and three daughters, each with
the temperament of wild flowers, willful and strong.
Finalist, 2003 James Laughlin Award
In this distinguished collection of poems, William Reichard graciously inspires his readers to celebrate as well as mourn all things transformed by choice and circumstance.
"How To by William Reichard arrives 'the way spring comes on, despite winter'… a commotion of images, a sheen of alabaster, that tell tales as complete as any novel.—Star Tribune
"Full of forgiveness and love, How To shows William Reichard taking on the work of the long haul—seeing clearly and then painting, steadily painting, with all the luminous words he has at hand. I am thankful for this poet who tries to arrange the universe and then, in moments of tenderest compassion, willingly lets it go."—Mary Logue
"How To is filled with a sense of yearning. Reichard's voice is subtle, almost conversational in tone. The texture of his language is open and honest."—The Corresponder
"'Anything can be language, for those who know the secrets of translation.' So writes William Reichard in his ambitious prose poem 'Postcards from California.' Although its philosophy may not be especially new, this statement articulates the greatest challenge for those who seek to understand the complexity of human communications. But good poets use the tools of their craft (not to mention their vision and wit) to unlock these secrets. And good poets are not afraid to reveal the struggles involved in such unlocking. … Reichard offers strong meditations on the hopefulness and hopelessness that attend our attempts to connect with each other."—Lambda Book Report
"Lovely and lyrical language, poignant metaphors and straightforward longing."—Minnesota