Plums and Ashes

Moolten, David

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Collection (Poems)

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jun-08-1997


David Moolten's poems demonstrate the medical (and poetic) virtues of simplicity, clarity, skillful observation, and attention to meaningful detail. They reveal and transform the poet's experience--from "a brief Christmas display / Of bells and lights" when he feels the silence of his father's joy "as I pull out the Lionel / Strangled with tinsel . . . " ("Freight"), through a call from the rehabilitation hospital during which his shattered brother "cried like static into the phone" ("'Cuda"), to "The Night" in which the poet stares through the window of memory at his and his wife's younger selves and tries "to whisper in their ears / They don't know where they're going" as they "lean into each other / Like two hands shielding a small flame . . . . " Among the other particularly appealing poems in this collection are "Chemistry Set," Motorcycle Ward (see this database), "Voyeur," "1968," and "Omission."


In this first collection, Moolten proves himself a poet whose dispassionate gaze both delineates and transforms experience. His poems are conversational in style, seemingly discursive, yet they always remain focused and clear. Each poem is a small story that seems at first to be "just the facts," but quickly becomes transformed by the poet's vision into a meaningful whole.


Northeastern Univ. Press

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