Reviews

From  Paradise Root-stock (2008)

“Reading Jon Wolston’s poetry is a contemplative experience that transforms one’s perception of reality. Sometimes with humor, and always with depth of insight, his poetry dresses nature and the ordinary with beautiful, symbolic language that nudges the heart to take a deeper look.”―VILMA SEELAUS

“I felt I was in the presence of someone who watched the world with great care and deep powers of observation. Jon Wolston’s sense of place is one of the most beautiful parts of his poetry, and he is able to evoke a place very vividly with few words. His delight in language is exceptional and brings landscapes and people alive.”―JIM ENGLISH

“Jon Wolston’s poetry is insightful and powerful. His words will remain with you long after you’ve read them.”―JULIE SILVER, Harvard physician and author of Super Healing

“In one of his poems, Jon Wolston speaks of ‘vanishing into the deep drifts.’ Paradise Root-stock holds many deep drifts for the reader, into mystery and wonder, into a ‘wagging’ of lifeness, into an affirmation that the speaker (and the reader) are part of something larger than themselves. Simple observations of the natural world are also sublime surprises and occasions for invention. A local brook becomes ‘gangified.’ October winds ‘reshuffle’ summer. Scattering styrofoam peanuts flee the dustpan in ‘Unpacking.’ Wolston’s couplings steer me into wondrous interactions and mystical unions. In ‘Hangings,’ death feels rightly, naturally, adorned with life. Elsewhere, I encounter a noiseless startle, or clouds that nestle reefs. The poet observes, then some transport happens. And it isn’t trickery or savvy craft. Wolston’s poems, as he says in ‘Nor’easter,’ are seeds for when god is hungry. I believe him and find myself, while reading his verse, to be at the table with god, who is munching often, bringing me to wakefulness.”―TRYFON TOLIDES, author of An Almost Pure Empty Walking

These small poems are gems that string together, each jewel reflecting the others in a great, brilliant net. I am of course drawn to those which closely observe nature…and then make the jump, the surprising burst of light. Wonderful.”―KELLEY J. WHITE, author of A Gilford Offering

Jon Wolston’s first collection of poetic verse takes the passing moment we thought too intimate to trace, in the confines of the cornered heart, and endows that very moment with uplifted space. What greater act of poetic chivalry than this? The eyes of everyday rapture and equanimity alike, so rarely wed, are here united in Wolston’s steady, seeing heart. His unabashed reverie for the natural world and her seasonal displays is joined with an ear for the erotic pulse which animates all. The disarming play of his curiously enlightening dark humor is like water in the well of pure being.”—WILLOW PEARSON

From Pulled In to Providence (2011)

“Wolston speaks in the ‘high-spirited, witty, antic and jazzy voice’ that, according to Garrison Keillor, in his latest Good Poems anthology, ‘in many ways defines the land of the free.’  With a clinician’s ears he records the blast of ‘The Stones in IMAX’ and the ‘glinting licks’ of ‘Duke Robillard Live at the German Club.’ His wise and practiced, wide-open eyes capture a ‘full moon ablaze’ in ‘Columbus Day in New Hampshire’ and the ‘girly hips and hollow cheekbones’ of  ‘James Montgomery at Chan’s.’ We encounter ‘spinnakers engorged with light’ in ‘Newport in October,’ a high-maintenance waitress in ‘Gettysburg,’ go water dowsing on Cape Cod, hike the Appalachian Trail, and burn down an outhouse in Indiana. We hear the gentle chiming of an ‘aha’ haiku moment or find ourselves slapping a knee with laughter.  And find ourselves, again and again, pulled in to Providence.”–KELLEY J. WHITE

“A masterpiece. Wolston’s poetry has a way of stirring our imagination with a creative vision of reality. The ordinary becomes alive in new ways, evoking anything from a smile or outright laughter to an awesome ‘Wow!’ These poems are always a delight to read and re-read.”–VILMA SEELAUS

“Wolston’s pleasure in language, his observational reach (from hair dryers to hang gliders to Lenin), and his ability to turn daily events into objects of curiosity and wonder, make this collection a joy to read.”–JIM ENGLISH

“The fine minutia of a moment, deftly crafted in a portrait of what only a divining rod might find, is the kind of poetic canvas that Wolston’s brushstrokes capture. He ignites a gentle re-awakening with just a few lines, prodding us on in to providence, and beyond. It’s that laugh…maybe a day after…an inner smile, that will bring you back between the index and the back cover.”–SILENT LOTUS

“I am most pulled in to providence–not a double meaning including city, but a state of grace–through the image and meditative poems, which slow time for me to the moment of experience, and through the accumulation of family poems of loss and reclamation, a complexity of grace…like landmarks of life in time,”–TRYFON TOLIDES, author of An Almost Pure Empty Walking”

In this new collection, Jon Wolston connects the dots with the lifeline of genuine inspiration: the renewing grace that spirit sparks.”–WILLOW PEARSON

“Jon Wolston draws you in and takes you on an incredible journey.”–JULIE SILVER, Harvard physician and author of Super Healing

From Two Tars (2014)

“Jon Wolston’s poetry startles, pleases, and inspires, all in the space of a few pages. His evocation of landscapes, particularly the mountains and lakes of New Hampshire, is full of sharp observation and an almost tactile familiarity, from ‘succulent blackberries’ to ‘loons calling.’ He captures both the beautifully mundane moment—’four birds in a wheel well’—and the wistfulness of passing years—’also known as all-wetness.’ He writes with depth, range, and a sly, spunky humor that draws the reader into acupuncture, summer storms, and love. Wolston brandishes a keen eye, a generous heart, and an appreciative ear for the melody and zest of language.”—JIM ENGLISH

“Wolston’s poetry exquisitely captures the events of everyday life while exploring the
soul’s search for meaning. In addition, his work probes the transient terrain between
the two.”—BILL CONNELL, publisher

“In this memorable collection, Jon Wolston has written poems of great emotional breadth, many evoking a strong feeling for New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Lakes
Region. He is a master of capturing moments in time, from a subtle change in the season
to a sudden storm, and he makes us more aware of the beauty we so often miss as we go about our too-busy lives.”—EUGENE SHEAR

“Jon Wolston’s poetry tacks in and out of both careful witnessing and testimony.
This collection is a wondrous journey. Just as the reader starts to get narrative bearings,
haikus loom up suddenly like hidden shoals—lovely, humorous, poignant. The tension and play is moving. I was transported and returned.”—DIANE QUAGLIA BELTRAN

“The poems in ‘Two Tars’ speak with a mature voice, grounded in the natural world, outraged at times, and at others accepting and understanding of change, loss, and the
opportunities that  come with both. They speak of ‘closing up,’ of ‘shrinking moments,’
and powerfully of ‘the spirit that tears us away from ourselves.’ Jon Wolston is a master
of the haiku moment, and these poems are infused with mono no aware, the beauty of
passing things. I urge you to spend some time with this modest and wise soul, who speaks of ‘spinning and respinning/ the bright yarn of pride,’ who hears a bluesman’s ‘soul coming down/ the abandoned railroad tracks,’ and despite the discovery that a son grows stronger than his father, can say ‘I no longer live in fear/ that suddenly I’ll disappear.’
I’m grateful that the good doctor chose ‘psychiatry/ over the circus’ and now brings us healing poems that speak to the whole.”—KELLEY JEAN WHITE

“Jon’s poems light up the heart of our imagination, anchored in an awe and humility that leave us touched, as it is, by the uncommon companionship of his seeing.”—WILLOW PEARSON

“Through vivid and pithy evocations of particular places and moments in time, Jon Wolston takes us into the placeless and the timeless, to inner reaches of heart and mind
and soul where anything is possible. Offering us his great gift for seeing, for really seeing,
he points us to the wonder and the reverence that we too might experience, if we were to really see what’s always here. This volume reaches a new level of skill and craft and artistry and finesse.”—DAVID ELLIOTT

 

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