Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Violinist and Other Selected PoemsEd GalingThe Poetry Collection3435 Mill Road, Hatboro PA 19040No ISBN $5.00

At near-ninety years of age, Ed Galing is a Pushcart nominee and the official Poet Laureate of Hatboro PA. He's authored numerous chapbooks and his poetry has been featured in just about any poetry journal you can name. His work is a virtual monument to America as it is and was. In fact, because of their content and appearance, his chapbooks could be described as folk art. Galing by-passes amenities and goes straight for the heart in his work. In this latest chapbook, readers will find paeans to the phenomenal Gene Krupa and Fats Waller as seen through Galing's eyes in their glory days.

And as always, the poet memorializes sweet years of his youth, memories of his parents, his father's violin music. One of my favorites in this chapbook is "Marathon," a long poem about a dance marathon during the Depression years. This poem is almost like being there on the dance floor. Galing has seen it all during his long life and documents his experiences with clear eyes.

For example, in this excerpt from "The Heyday" he remembers burlesque and makes a valid social commentary: "burlesque died a gasping breath when the floodgates opened and civil liberty took a different turn."

This excerpt from "Retrenchment" tells a too-familiar story of workers in America. It was true when Galing was young and struggling, and doubly true today:

"that's what you get fromthose in power,controlling workers' lives hour by hour. and when they're finished,they spit you out,and that's what democracy is all about."

Whether social or personal, Galing shows life like it is based on eighty-plus years of experience.

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