Blurbs: Vivaldi for Breakfast

[So far, all of my books have taken their titles from one of the poems in the book. Here is the title poem for this book:]

They say that you know when a new language you’ve been studying has finally sunk in when you start dreaming in it. I can confirm that in the case of Spanish, and music. I distinctly remember the day my alarm clock went off, set to the Houston classical station KLEF, and they were playing a Vivaldi concerto. Instead of waking up, my mind immediately kicked in to picturing exactly what the full score of the music looked like, filling it out as the music played.

“Spring” in the poem refers to the first of the four violin concertos called The Four Seasons, which begins with a heavy-footed peasant dance. Vivaldi was called The Red Priest because he had red hair. Although a Roman Catholic priest, he was too frail to stand through a mass, but that didn’t stop him from writing music. He composed many operas, sacred choral works, and concertos for the students in a private girls’ school for “extra” daughters of the rich.

Vivaldi for Breakfast

The alarm goes off: no buzzer, no annoying
pulse. It’s set to classical music, and they’re
playing vivaldi, the breakfast composer.
It’s the giddy idiocy of “Spring.” Life is good.

The kitchen smells of coffee and toast. Some
crazy bird outside fills in Vivaldi’s pauses
with mad roulades and melismas that seem
improvised especially for this moment.

I’m glad The Red Priest’s happy pesants
come to visit ever morning, before I realize
I forgot to put the trash out, before I wonder
if there’s enough gas in the car to get me to work.

 

Vivaldi for Breakfast, Published Poems 2005-2009 (Moon Pie Press, 2009, 80 pp., $10)

To do it any justice, I would write of this book in the form of a poem, as that is the magic that John-Michael Albert effects through his work–to lend us use of his poetic lens. Under his watchful eye and with his loving words, the world shimmers–all of it–the deer dragged under the bus, the miracle of ruby strawberries in a bread pudding, a junker that still runs despite every law of physics. Albert’s magic is to see, to be present, to love…the world in all its flawed mavelousness, and his poems teach us, in their quiet but insistent way, to do the same.
Annie Farnsworth, editor, Sheltering Pines Press; author, Bodies of Water, Bodies of Light and Angel of the Heavenly Tailgate (Moon Pie Press, 2006).

I am in love with Mike Albert’s love poems, and with the world in these poems–you will be too. It’s just a little world, but urn a corner (a page) and you will be surprised by a doe, the mystery of the cup and the spoon, the something you’ve been watching for.
Lesley Kimball, Librarian and Co-Chair of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program.

How do you do it, Mike Albert? With all the stress and the energy-draining pressure of The 2010 Poets’ Guide to new Hampshire–collecting, editing, publsihing, marketing–you are still able to bring us Vivaldi for Breakfast. The collections includes poems familliar from journals, readings, and anthologies, plus a variety of new work, all suffused by Mike’s deep love for life in its entirely. Here are poems celebrating the minutia of everyday life–a recipe for bread pudding, a celebration of breakfast–to poems finding the positive in tragedy–his great-uncle saving his beloved Percherons when he could not save himself from the annihlating train. Many of the poems meld two genrest of art–painting, sculture, music–with the poetry, bringing out deeper insights: tea from onions? And Mike’s sense of humor makes sure the reader always finds another twist, a sruprise dimension rewarding the reading.
Pat Parnell, author of Snake Woman and other Explorations, finding the Female in Divinity and Talking with Birches, Poems of Family and Everyday Life.

John-Michael Albert’s poetry is vivid–whether set on a Turkish beach, graveside in Ireland, or at the kitchen table in his own Dover, NH–but it’s the kind of vivid you see with your heart, not your commonplace eyes. These poems are like diary entries of one who has seen much, suffered much, and shared his life with a memorable collection of waitresses, bullies, lovers, losers, stray cats and songbirds: the eccentric pantheon of his own personal mythology. A grand book to curl up with.
Andrew Periale, editor, Puppetry international Magazine, 2nd Rochester (NH) Poet Laureate, author, Striking Thumbnails and Uncommon Grounds.

When fierce honesty is mixed with a joyous intensity, an ecstasy is sparked that takes shape of love. John-Michael Albert’s poetry lives in the intimate moments when polarities embrace one another. With an enchanting style, dauntless humor, and generous grace, he lets us experience how words can lead us to the promise of each moment. He finds what is precious in each of us, and we are better for it.
Bruce Spang, author, The Knot, Tip End of Time and the Promised Land Grocery (Moon Pie Press, 2008).

 

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