Monday, August 27, 2018

Review of "Horseradish and For-Get-Me-Nots," by Gus Carlson

Review of
Horseradish and For-Get-Me-Nots, by Gus Carlson

Five out of five stars
 The author of this collection of poems never finished high school, for when he grew up many farm boys did not attend school when there were crops to plant or harvest. His family immigrated from Sweden when he was about four years old and he never lived more than a dozen miles from his first home in Garrison, Iowa. A farmer all his life, not surprisingly, his poems are about rural life on an Iowa farm.
 While the verse is quite good, there are some that will not make sense to a reader unfamiliar with some of the more peculiar Iowa traditions. This is most apparent in the first one called “Relic.” It describes a leaning structure in the backyard and the last two lines are, “Yet a scarred and doughty vet’ran Of some sixty Halloweens.” This will be lost on many readers but hilarious to those familiar with the Halloween tradition of tipping over outhouses.
 These poems appeared on the farm page of the Sunday Cedar Rapids Gazette. Carlson wrote a weekly contribution of over twenty-five years and there is true wit and wisdom in them. They reflect life on the farm where the nearest town is both small and close in the sense that the people all know each other. It is important that at least some of them have been preserved in book form.

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