“Like a reverie I fell into this collection of poems, vivid and strange, and I find myself returning afterwards, holding it like a dream in the morning light, studying the facets of meaning, jewel-like in my mind’s eye.” — Weodi Squid, Author of Monsters at the Kitchen Sink published by Rose Rock Press.
“Terry’s work takes you for a cab ride that starts in Oklahoma, ventures through your soul and leaves you with fond memories of Whitman’s writing desk and the place where Kerouac threw up.” — Jason Poudrier, Author of Red Fields published by Mongrel Empire Press and In the Rabble at Our Feet, Published by Rose Rock Press.
This is a collection of poems, a bit on the surreal side and not so surreal, too, taken on over the last ten years or so. I was interested in putting a few things together for readings and noticed that by doing those readings there emerged a few unshakable themes and images. It would seem that I had been working with them for a long time–my father used to tell me that the moon, when shaped a certain way, was a toenail that a giant clipped and it stuck in the sky. I believed him and I still do sometimes. The story stuck with me. Yeah, I know. When the poem Under a Toenail Moon was written it was meant simply as a stream of consciousness/ internal rhythm exercise, however, it oddly received nice responses from audiences. Also, I can never read the thing aloud and not choke up at some of the lines. I think that after a writer has read a poem for several years and can still stand the thing–well, it might be something that that writer, me in this case, should not give up on. It may be where the meaningless becomes meaningful or some rubbish like that. The book contains that poem as well as other poems described by many around Southwest and Central Oklahoma as “Off the wall,” or “Surrealist,” Perhaps the poems are a bit experimental but I also hope they will be fun, sad, and meaningful too. – Terry Gresham
Under a Toenail Moon is available here.
I once studied the chair and desk of Whitman
while standing behind the sectioning off rope. —Terry Gresham
Terry Gresham’s poetry is always surprising and always delightful. He works to pleasantly unsettle the audience from any expectations we might have. He says, “I try to think of the words on the page as not being the most important thing about the piece. Like a DNA or a protein molecule that has a primary structure (words) a secondary structure (words folding upon other words) and a tertiary structure (how the poem coils even further around due to its environment) I like to have the poem doing biology and somersaults. I like to have the poem doing things that it shouldn’t.
“One day, I would like to be like a song
and I want Annie Lennox to sing me.
I would love to be notable like that.”
The lines, I think, are beautiful–sweet and surprising. And what made them even more charming was the way he laughed after every one of them. – Teri McGrath