|Like Buddha- Calm Bird by Kevin Rabas|
Meadowlark- August 2018
BISAC: Regional and Cultural Poetry
Kevin Rabas’s new collection of poems and story, Like Buddha-Calm Bird, improvises on and riffs off the variable rhythms of the stories we create, revise, and live. Writing the music inherent in changing narratives of the ordinary and extraordinary. Rabas illustrates what fellow Kansas poet meant when he said, “Anyone who breathes is in the rhythm business, anyone who is alive is caught up in the imminences, the doubts mixed with the triumphant certainty, of poetry.” Whether writing about Ugandan rain, the Bossa Nova, a middle school drummer, or the T. Rex at a museum, Rabas puts his ear to what wants to be said, then moseys into words slow and deliberate, or explodes into language fast and on the wing. In a sense, much of this collection leads up the final section, “Eclipse,” showing us how we partner with the life force to co-create this world: “the breath of God/ comes in a cloud” and “an open/mouth whistles/ over and past tall grasses/ from dust, remakes the world.”
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate 2009-13, and author of Everyday Magic: Fieldnotes on the Mundane and Miraculous
Like Buddha-Calm Bird, by Kansas Poet Laureate, Kevin Rabas, is a gift of captured moments offered to his many readers and admirers. The intrepid poet never blinks, never misses a detail, wielding his pen as a surgeon does a scalpel, dissecting the butterfly without blemishing its beauty. Intimacy during a speakeasy gig, embarrassment at a jazz drummers’ clinic, humor in an exercise class, humiliation from a bully, and tenderness with his soulmate are among the moments pondered and presented in Rabas’s fearless voice. As always, his words ring true.
Michael D. Graves, author of To Leave a Shadow and
Shadow of Death