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Sonoma County Gazette
So Much by Pat Nolan

So Much - Poetry by Pat Nolan

Jun 1, 2018


By Robert Feuer

Esteemed poet, Pat Nolan, continues to propel literary darts at the world from his Monte Rio home. Finally, his ancient boxes and file cabinet drawers have been salvaged from the period of 1969-89, when he was “ceaselessly writing,” and dragged into the light of day in his new release, “So Much,” his first volume of selected poems.

Some of these poems have been previously published in Rolling Stone, The Paris Review, Rock Me Roll Me Vast Fatality, andExquisite Corpse.

What does it all mean?

Always self-effacing, Nolan calls it “the noise of self-consciousness.” “Words lead me to places unknown I only have to follow.”

“It seems like nothing ever happens but it does,” much of it caught in “this spider web in front of me on the oblong window catching light.” Certain lines take us back to places reminiscent of the 1940s -‘50s - “a vacant lot and it’s Saturday an old tire is second base the outfield is glass strewn and weed-filled.” – “a horse-drawn delivery wagon in front of the grocery store.” Another line, from his Mom’s old photo album- “me less than a year old seated on a lap on a dirt pile in the barren tract of wartime housing.”

Nolan sees women, a species not unknown to him, “as if from behind a lace curtain.” “The white bathrobe the woman wore against the evening breeze.” Or the trepidation inherent in the lines - “The apparent gloom of her sighs signaled a late afternoon.” “I was worried you have to be here to keep my mind off you.”

Nolan’s long periods of editing/writing reveries seem to be broken only by the distraction of cats, a child, daydreams over a bowl of Sonoma’s finest, the drip of the coffee pot. He speaks of his beans as “a profound addiction,” “a sacrament,” “a sacred brew.” Perhaps, that’s why he experiences “the shimmering morning bursting with anxiety to the point of distraction.”

“We’ll have fun fun fun while it lasts,” Nolan writes, while seemingly peeking over his shoulder at the same time – “looking for the original me have I ever been found.” Though still in his ‘40s in 1989, “I should have gone down the tubes by now but I won’t fit.”

Nolan claims that “When I die I want to be buried in a book.” But, for now he’s alive, and, through the ongoing exposition of his extensive writings, continuing to share his “life fragments without context” with those of us on the outside looking through his eyes, as he searches for “the fabled state of ‘everything’s gonna be alright.’”

*all quotes taken from the pages of “So Much.”

Also available for a limited time at Sebastopol’s Many Rivers Books & Tea.


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