Friday, November 6, 2015

All Sins Forgiven: Poems for My Parents by Charles Coe

Written in memory of his parents, All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents is Charles Coe’s second book of poetry. He is also known as a jazz vocalist, book reviewer, and workshop leader. (I first met him on Campobello Island at the Iota Conference - founded and run by Stonecoast MFA graduate Penny Guisinger). Coe doesn’t gloss over his relationship with his folks; he seems more to portray them honestly with the reflection available in his adulthood. In Fortress Coe describes a neighbor dropping off a home baked peach pie although his mother does not appreciate the gift coming into her home, which is the “fortress that no one but family was allowed to enter”. These are mainly prose poems; the poetics depend somewhat on repetition, but also on the turn, the surprising and poignant conclusion of each one. In A Change of Menu the author learns his father no longer cooks the elaborate Thanksgiving dinner. Later that night, alone, he takes down the blue speckled roasting pan and traces “a trail in the film of dust on the lid”. These poems are memoir portraits of a life the poet left, but one that did not leave him. In the title poem, All Sins Forgiven, we are told “Blessed be all who took pen in hand to sign/ The Book of Regrets,/ all sins forgiven,/ awakened from the dream of life.”

All Sins Forgiven: Poems for My Parents
by Charles Coe
Leapfrog Press $13.95 (paper)


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