The Cost of Walking

Shannon Tharp, The Cost of Walking

79 pages. ISBN 978-1-907489-06-8

Praise for Shannon Tharp:

We live in a condition of weather, a fact so blatant that we are startled to be reminded that this is, inescapably, the human condition. There is also the weather within, mood of the mind, as it confronts the weather without. These poems discover and confront one sort of weather: gray skies, an all-over overcast condition. In doing so they also discover and confront a question: if less is more, then what about least? Poetry, in contrast to prose and so called ordinary discourse, can be thought of as "less words." A poetry of least words is a conscious raising of the stakes in the gamble that is any poem. A risk, a risk taking. The risk is that gray may turn out to be just and only that. Hopelessly entangled in ambiguity, hopelessly lost, brought to a stand still. The composer Gorecki once interrupted an academic symposium to strike a single note on a piano and point out that it, too, was a chord. His interruption commanded attention. Likewise these poems, though in a completely nondramatic fashion. They are "interruptions" in a quiet voice, and therein resides their authority. Shannon Tharp is to be commended for taking the risk of finding a chord—under and over tones, inner voicings—when the weather seems to offer and enforce only reduction. It takes courage to confront weather, not to deny it, and to attempt something other than that. Both come at a cost. (This collection's title is not incidental.) Her poems merit attention.

John Taggart


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