Monday, December 11, 2006

New Poetry By Lynn Hoffman


I'm not the only person to notice
the foursome who can't manage
to complete a sentence without the "F" word
while they stand in line to renew their licenses.
I'm waiting for my daughter
to return from her driving test
when I hear someone say,
"Come on oh-vuh here,
and sit on my face.
I'll show you how it's done,"
which even attracts the attention
of the workers behind the counter
who've trained themselves only to look up
to call the next person in line.

My daughter returns with a smile and good news.
Just as we take our seats near the camera,
one of the foursome sits down in front of us.
Seconds later, he's joined by his girl friend,
who parks her behind on his empty lap.
Their chatter resumes
at a decibel level no one can avoid.
Suddenly, the girl friend shrieks,
"Yo! Don't let your ding-dong
harden on my ass!"
which takes me back to the cereal aisle
at Stop & Shop,
somewhere between Cap'n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs,
when my soon-to-be husband and I
were seized with an urge
to kiss -
not a peck on the cheek,
or even the mouth,
but a deep-throated, tongue-thrashing kiss
in the middle of the aisle
on the day senior-citizens got their discount,
when a sudden, insistent finger
tapped me on the shoulder
and a frail voice scolded,
"That's disgusting!"
to which I sneered,
"No one forced you to watch!"
as we completed the act he so rudely interrupted
while the poor man
hobbled toward the checkout
with his box of Bran in one hand,
his container of Metamusil in the other.


Like Fire Catching Wind
Antrim House
ISBN 978-0-9762091-8-8

Lynn Hoffman's Like Fire Catching Wind is a collection of poetry that has received acclaim from all quarters.

Sue Ellen Thompson says, "The settings for the poems in Like Fire Catching Wind range from the kitchen stove to the slopes of the Andes, and in between lie stories about what it means to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, and the granddaughter of Italian immigrants. Surprises abound – read 'Small Talk' and 'The Gift' – as do humor, tenderness, and awe. Lynn Hoffman's poems remind us that the ordinary is as deserving of poetry as the extraoraordinary, that it is only by listening closely to the conversations around us that we can hear our humanity speak."

Doug Anderson writes that "Lynn Hoffman's poems celebrate the hot ingot of life in what most people mistake as the ordinary – a hotdog vendor infused with Aphrodite, an insectival soldier healing from trauma in a Kafka cage of high tech medicine – you know, the things you think you see, but don't quite? She's got vision and she'll help you see. Keep this book close."

And Major Jackson has this to say: "Each poem in Lynn Hoffman's Like Fire Catching Wind makes observation and rememory a ritual of language and reverence. Her poetry stems from the shimmering, mystified world of our quotidian lives, yet is reconstituted with feeling and stabilized by her imaginative powers until we, ourselves, are reborn anew and human."

Lynn Hoffman has studied with Steve Straight at Manchester Community College and attributes much of her success as a writer to him. Writing has been in her blood from early on. As she says, "Writing is my obsession, though poetry is a relatively new venture, which makes it all the more ironic that my first and only book is a collection of poems. I wondered if I would live long enough to see one of my books in print. So did my parents and siblings. My children just gave up on me. No more wondering.

"I write because I cannot not write – plays, YA novels, and short fiction as well as poems. I don't have rituals or a special room (although I do prefer a Uni-ball Vision Elite Fine Point with blue-black ink). I write at the dining room table, in the thick of family activity, for a few hours after dinner. I love the surprises, the revelations, the meditations, the dialogues, and the debates that writing provokes.

"To support my writing habit, I am the Academic Advisor and Outreach Coordinator for the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, a CREC magnet high school in Hartford, Connecticut. The artistry of my colleagues and the raw talent of our students, combined with my community of family and friends, is the wellspring for my writing."

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