ALBANY POETRY EXAMINER
A POET FINDS A MUSE
Ellaraine Lockie’s book of poetry, “Coffee House Confessions,” Silver Birch Press, piques my interest with its fresh ground coffee aroma that brings the promise of insights into life rising on each page. It introduces us to people of all sizes and shapes, cultures, ages, race and political or religious outlooks: a Teddy Bear man, raking pebbles in a Buddhist Zen sand garden out front, a Stockbroker in a Silicon Valley suit, an Italian coffee maker/at the Bar La Cisteria, the ghosts of Lord Byron, Hans Christian Andersen and Luis Vaz de Camoes. As the title suggests, the collection is a compilation of the insights Lockie has gained from watching people come and go in coffee shops around the world where she arrives daily with pen and pad in hand.
As a true poet she uses vibrant images: Starbucks, Santa Claus, stage four Jesus, Mountain Man, Mobile, pack of Camels, Salem cigarettes and Valium. Her delightful free style poems are also enhanced by her use of poetic compression and alliteration: bristle/brush and lettering/lizards.
Lockie opens the collection with Java Genetics, an analysis of the connection between storytelling around campfires of prehistory, to today’s coffee houses and poets, likening their relationship to a seed (coffee bean) that has been planted and evolved in our DNAs. She explains her use of the word confessions in White Noise and Other Muses: Little does she know I’m eating her alive. In The Privacy of Public, deals with how troubles in life can often be dealt with better under the restraint of strangers watching: Something horrible here that can be alluded to/…perhaps only in the privacy of public. In The Young and The Restless, she finds memories from her own life in one coffee house as she watches the antics of a lively dog: The woman ties her charge to the table legs/…He sniffs the air then yanks the table toward /leftovers in a garbage can.
The last entry, You’ve Come a Long Way Baby, brings us to a typical coffee shop occasion portrayed as a scene in Edwardian England where the poet has come to sell her chapbooks and a sale buys the day’s quota of caffeine.
I recommend this entertaining and well rendered collection of poems.
Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author, and essayist. Coffee House Confessions is her tenth poetry chapbook. Her recent work has been awarded the 2013 Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, for Stroking David’s Leg, winner of the San Gabriel Festival Chapbook Prize, for Red for the Funeral and the Aurorean’s Chapbook Pick for Wild as in Familiar. She teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.
Coffee House Confessions is available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon or ordered from bookstores.