Tuning

Tuning

Poems by Kathryn Beam Troxler

Poetry - General
74 Pages
Reviewed on 06/27/2017
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Author Biography

Since childhood, Kathryn Beam Troxler has been a singer, artist and poet. Born in Oakland, California, she grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, obtained a Bachelors Degree from UC Berkeley and a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Sonoma State College. First a folksinger, she then studied voice and became a church soloist and lieder singer. With her husband and two daughters, she moved to Greensboro NC in 1982.

While raising her family, she studied painting with several artists, including Chuck McLaughlin, Maggie Fickett, Alexis Lavine and Anne Kiefaber, and exhibited in numerous art shows and galleries. She and four other artists have Suite Art 144, a studio/gallery at Revolution Mills in Greensboro. She is a member of the the Pastel Society of NC and NC Open Plein Air Painters,

She co-founded the New Garden Poetry Group in 2000. After retiring from her twenty-year psychotherapy practice, she published her collection of Poems, Tuning, with one of her paintings on the cover, to commemorate her father’s centennial birthday. It has been very well received and given a 5 Star Rating by Readers Choice. Her Statement:

"For me, both art and poetry are forms of meditation, ways to explore the essence of what I see and experience. I love Nature, wide open skies and water. and have a kinesthetic need to explore its intricacy and beauty."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Tuning: Poems by Kathryn Beam Troxler is a collection of inspirational and nature-themed poems. Troxler’s subjects are wide-ranging; many of her poems are inspired by the ocean, forests and woodlands, and her own garden. Others share her travels to other lands and responses to art and artists, past and present. Her work is taut yet open ended, making reading each poem both a defined and liberating experience. In her opening piece, Chthonic Dialog: On Making Pinch Pots, Troxler paints the process as a duet between the living clay which “warms/quickens/sings to the fingers/takes form” and the artist’s hand which “listens/shapes/refines/guided by/instinctive wisdom/old as humankind.” Her repeated use of verbs in present tense gives an immediate and dynamic sense to the process, making the reader privy to the creation of the potter’s work. Troxler transports the reader to the wine-dark sea in I am an Egyptian Boat, through the consciousness of the water craft: “plowing the seas --/above me/the dark starry night/below/waters parting/before my prow./Buoyant and flexible/I mediate/heaven and earth --”

Tuning: Poems by Kathryn Beam Troxler is a sumptuous feast brimming with sound, shapes, color and motion. Her use of verbs, participles and gerunds imparts movement and animates her world, particularly the natural places that feature so prominently in her work. I loved watching the march of the seasons through her eyes, seeing the brilliant colors of fallen leaves reflecting off her driveway as new ones descend to join them, and seeing how the ice-covered forest “gleams with light/and rings with sound/mad tinkling of melting drops/cascading ice loads crashing down” and, in Lake Brandt Midwinter, how “Sound/like a primeval serpent horn/or mighty conch/deep hollow resonance/plumbs the silence” as “this quick white snake/divides the like/segments the frozen flow,” making the reader an audience to that moment when the lake’s ice cracked with a roar.

If I were hard pressed to select favorites from this collection that appeals to me in so many ways, I would have to choose Trysting with Rembrandt; a poem that resonates with me so deeply. I too am transfixed each time I see his self-portrait: “your eyes/small and prescient, retain/their penetrating power at any distance --/their wisdom transcends time,/binds me to you,/your time,/my own layered selves,/my own history.” In her spare and elegant verse, she captures the effect Rembrandt has with unerring and direct accuracy. My other choice would be Crossing the Line, a paean to the sea and all it touches: “Waves crest, break,/spend themselves in lacy spume.” The image of her stalwart swimmer flinching “as each new inch of flesh/feels stinging cold” and who then plunges into the surf, swimming ahead of waves or getting caught in the turmoil of an ill-timed wave and tumbling along the shore, continuing “until dark/gauging the rhythms of the surf/catching waves -- letting them pass/riding them in until one last wave/carries her all the way into the beach” is unforgettable and powerful, and the reader becomes “sea-changed” just as that swimmer does. While there’s so much to discover and experience in this collection, those two spoke most clearly to me.

Tuning: Poems by Kathryn Beam Troxler captured my heart and imagination with the first words of that first poem and kept me willingly enthralled throughout. Troxler’s work is unutterably lovely, translucent and powerful. Tuning is most highly recommended.

Gisela Dixon

Tuning: Poems by Kathryn Beam Troxler is a poetry book containing a fairly short collection of poems. Tuning is quite simply formatted and laid out and contains poems that mostly deal with the inner workings of the mind, and internal feelings and emotions. A lot of the poems contain nature imagery and bring to mind mountains, rivers, forests, birds, insects, but underlying all this, there is usually a connection made with the infinite nature of the universe and our internal mind. The external images serve as a mirror or reflection of the internal psyche or human consciousness. The poems can be read in any order and typically are one page each.

Tuning: Poems by Kathryn Beam Troxler is a serene, peaceful read. I liked some of the poems more than others and I especially liked the poems set in nature where one is simply observing the world or universe around oneself, be it something as simple as looking at the ripples in water or observing a moth flying. The style of writing and indeed the layout of the book itself is clean and minimalistic, which adds to this aura of serenity. Some of my favorites in this collection include those set in the winter season about ice, snow, cold, harshness, and the beauty of the season like “Ice Storm.” This is a good collection for someone who especially values solitude, stillness, and contemplation as there is plenty of this to be found here.

Rosie Malezer

Tuning is a book of enigmatic poems written by Kathryn Beam Troxler. In a mosaic of themes ranging from Art, Birth, Ritual, Love and more, each poem is rich, original, and presents its reader with an authentic style and flavor. Every possible and imaginable aspect in life is laid before those who are willing to drink in the words, allowing them to form pictures, patterns, and tell a story, allowing it to unfold slowly, step by step. It all begins at Birth but never ends at Death, with each facet of a living soul’s essence easily flowing through the readers’ veins, not unlike the life-giving liquid of blood itself.

From the first poem to the very last, each verse carries a strong, symbolic meaning surrounded by a particular theme. Kathryn Beam Troxler has a firm grip on what words and linguistics can be when assembled cleverly, so as to easily convey an essential message from writer to reader. I hungrily absorbed each line, as the visual aspect was incredible in the way it was laid out. Picturing a mother giving birth to her young, regardless of its species, or the resting place of a treasured family member is presented in the form of a gift, allowing the reader to absorb and process. Much heart, soul and deep thought has been captured, with the various aspects of life and death, nature, nurture and love in artistic symmetry. My favorite of all of the verses presented was the three-tiered layer in Ice Storm. Being in a frozen environment, such as I am in Northern Finland, the magnetism of such words is intoxicating and so familiar to me. I very much enjoyed each and every verse presented in Tuning, and strongly recommend Kathryn Beam Troxler’s magnificent ensemble to all who love and appreciate the complexity of the beautiful and enriched language of the soul.