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Talking to Shadows by Ron Houchin

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To have most of his eight previous poetry collections published by an Irish publisher is indeed a tribute to their craft and weight, but this publisher, LSU Press, is widely known as the pinnacle publisher of poetry in the South.  Ron Houchin is a retired schoolteacher who lives on the banks of the Ohio River across from Huntington, West Virginia, where he grew up. This collection was a runner-up for the Weatherford Award in poetry for 2020. In the title poem, Houchin asserts that “to speak to shadows is to remain still in their reshaping the world,” as he takes an evening walk. In the rest of the poems, he continues to observe, from different vantage points, other phenomena, and his responses demonstrate his appreciative attitude towards the world around him.  “Conjured from time’s liminal territories, Houchin’s poems drift in from alleys and dank wells, snowfields and leaden rivers, empty churches and cemeteries. . . . All knock hard at the door, intent on stirring our keenest state of remembrance.” – Sherry Cook Stanforth.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 2020. 54 pages. Trade paperback.