POETRY REVIEWS-Phillip Larrea
About The Author...
Phillip Larrea was born and raised in Sacramento, CA., lived in N.Y.C. and Northern New Jersey most of his adult life, but has since moved back to Sacramento "where the New York City winters aren't bleeding me." (Paul Simon- The Boxer"). He studied poetry with Thom Gunn and Karl Shapiro at the University of California at Davis during the late seventies, and then all but abandoned writing until 2011. Since 2011, Phillip has had poetry published in over sixty journals and anthologies, is the author of Our Patch (Writing Knights Press), We the People (Cold River Press) and hundreds of non-fiction essays about the economic conditions of the average working household.
From The Forward of "We The People."
"Phillip Larrea, possesses the rare ability to focus, succinctly, his message, his expression, onto the printed page for all to read and hear. His ability to weave a message with the use of short, concise poems is an accomplishment few can master, and indeed he is a master at using language to drive straight to the point. His vivid expressions come as varied as his poetry; they range from love poems that stir the heart to political diatribes that expose the malicious renderings of our corrupt leaders and officials. He manages to accurately describe a wide host of human conditions and poignantly attends to these conditions with the nurturing care that only a skilled wordsmith can muster." - David Boles
GPAGE - Short Book Review
Phillip Larrea speaks the truth in "We The People" and his voice and message springs from the pages loud and clear! In the poem "Chess Game" he seeks not only the game but parts of him that are missing. Philip Larrea's work stands out among other authors because he is as real as you get and he has the ability to speak and be heard clearly. His special talent to bring such clarity to his poetry is a gift. His sense of humor shines through in poems like "Halloween" and "Fascination." From his adaptation of an essay by Benjamin Franklin in 1767 to a tender moment in "You Don't Care," it is all here for the reader to enjoy and take in. I still can't get "Twinkie Forever" out of my mind! Classic. His "TriCube" poems are very powerful and to the point. His poem "Bank Owned" says it all and leaves a picture in your mind with just three short stanzas. Magic indeed! This is indeed a treasure and a welcomed edition to my poetry collection.
GPAGE Author Interview - September 2013
Question: What or who inspired you to write this book?
Answer: I can't honestly say that I set out to write a book of any kind. My first foray into poetry was attending readings in the local area, more or less as a hobby. I dusted off my 15 poems and began reading at the open mics. Since many people were reading long poems, I decided to do shorter pieces, which is how my original short form, the "TriCube", was created. These poems are all three stanzas long, each stanza with three lines, each line with three syllables - so three cubed, TriCube. These are tight pieces and have been a great way for me to exercise discipline in my writing. Eventually, I began to write longer pieces, but most of my poems range from 9-20 lines. In the Fall of 2012, both Writing Knights Press and Cold River Press invited me to submit manuscripts for a chapbook and full-length collection respectively. In both cases, the material determined the tone of the books, rather than selecting appropriate pieces for a pre-determined theme. In short, I gave them everything I had.
Question: Was there any particular life event or situation that may have lead to writing this?
Answer: There was no single life event that lit a fire under me to write, except possibly my age. My father died at age 50, and I was already past 50. I particularly wanted to have a written record for my son, Ray, such that if I died suddenly, he would have a permanent record of how I thought and felt about things. I dread the idea that people will say things about me - good or bad - that are not true. In that sense, my writing is one long obituary.
Question: Do you plan on writing anything else like this in the future or plan on continuing this as a series?
Answer: When I get to fifty poems, I hope I have a book that someone will publish. I just hit the milestone, so with a little luck, maybe a book next year. Of late, I have become more interested in writing mythic prose poems for the longer pieces, some history pieces, the satirical or sardonic contemporary pieces, and of course. TriCubes. This summer has been devoted to my first effort at editing an anthology, which is now completed and off to the printers for release on 9/28 to coincide with 100,000 Poets for Change, a personally seminal event. The anthology entitled Sacramento Voices, is a compilation of the poets who have read at my reading series this past year, as well as "guest" poets whose work is so important to our community; 46 poets and 164 pages of poetry in all. We have a monster two-day event scheduled at the Sacramento Poetry Center to launch the book. After that, a poem a week - that's what I keep telling myself.
Other Reviews of "We The People"
"Phillip Larrea encourages thought in his readers and excellence in his friends. This is his most pernicious fault. From his Frost inspired and Zen-like tricubes, to his darkly humorous Letter from Thomas Jefferson, Phillip Larrea gives poetic variety a facelift. For my money, any poet who can use the word ekphrastic (What She Saw There) must be either incredibly erudite or crazy. Phillip Larrea may be both."
"We hear the voices of hipsters, of beats, of Zen masters, of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. We come to hear the voice amongst the multitude of sins visited upon this strange and wonderful land. We hear of his Irishness, ‘Tempting as hemlock / To a starving soul.’ He reminds us of thinkers who may have lit better ways. ‘In Locke’s box / Not worth much, /But sturdy.’
In the end it is the art of his work that illuminates everything else. His sure sense of meter and rhyme, his careful shephering of his words through so many voices. In the end he invokes TS Eliot and offers his own declaration : ‘T.S. Eliot begins and ends. / Here, like a struck match, he begins again.’
To get a sense of America today, this indeed would be a fine starting point."
Links To Purchase Book and Blog
- Cold River Press
Great site for Color Printing, Digital Imaging, and Web Development.
- Writing Knights Press: Our Patch by Phillip Larrea