Friday, October 29, 2010

What Makes It Taste Better: A Collection of Poems

For Consideration: What Makes It Taste Better, by David Wayne Hampton (Maul & Froe Press 2010)

"In David Wayne Hampton’s first collection of poems the world is always at summer, with somewhere nearby “the ploink, plunk, brunk of the water/ the high hat, pat-a-slap tap/ of silver.” He gives us the kind of food we want on a green summer day- from doughnuts to ham hocks to Cheerwine, to Moonpies- and good family stories to listen to while we munch. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing these poems as light, however: “it’s not the eureka moment/ but the long, slow continuing” through these poems of place that makes the reading of them as satisfying as an afternoon swim at summer camp. Hampton’s southern Appalachian world is light-filled, but within light dwells the possibility of all colors, including the darkest ones. “Don’t call us backward” one poem admonishes, “we walk in the same direction as you/ just not in such a hurry.” Don’t hurry through Hampton’s collection; you’ll be glad you lingered awhile.” ---Dana Wildsmith, Author of Back to Abnormal and One Good Hand

"Clever parodying, curious and playful lines make What Makes It Taste Better verge on the educational and insightful, yet with humor, not pedanticism. Here I found out that the mullet haircut is also called the 'Carolina Waterfall' and that blackbirds and boogers have more than a little in common. The poems’ humor saves them, in that tongue-in cheek way that disarms any resistance to their charms. David Hampton’s clever word-play with classical and modern themes reminds me of the work of the legendary Louise McNeill. This book made me laugh and cringe, sometimes in the same instant."------ Ron Houchin, author of Museum Crows

"In this wryly observant first collection, David Hampton gives us an insider's view of life in these post-millennium Appalachians. What makes it taste better? Humor which manages to be all at once ironic and compassionate. A sense of history, and of one's own place in it. Precision of language and the joy of its tang on your tongue." -------- Pauletta Hansel, author of Divining and First Person

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