Nature: Human & Otherwise
by D.C. Buschmann
37 Poems ~ 54 Pages
Format: 6” x 9” Paperback ~ Perfect Bound
Price: $10.00
Publisher: Independently Published
ISBN: 978-8550-9000-8-6
To order:

Reviewed by Michael Escoubas

As I began working my way through Denise Buschmann’s debut collection
Nature: Human and Otherwise, I happened onto a poem that, for me, serves
quite nicely as an anchor to the whole: “Disengaging to do Other Work.” The
poem is about “leaves disembarking / from their life source / without pain,” to
engage in doing other work. This other work involves enriching the soil, giving
the gift of life to other trees, humbly and efficiently contributing to the cycle of

Leaves are small, organic things which may escape our notice unless we pay
attention. Buschmann DOES pay attention, that is the whole point! Buschmann
sees small things like leaves, she sees how they matter, how they do their part.
To be sure, people are not leaves; unlike leaves, human beings share the gift of
speech, the attribute of consciousness and responsibility for their actions. Yet,
the anchor I propose seems to apply. Consider the poem, “Small Things Are the
Stuff of Life”:

       Americans are vibrant blocks
       in a living quilt, shades and hues
       shapes and sizes, stitched together
       into a colorful, cohesive Picasso.

Then, in an incisive commentary on contemporary journalism, she continues:

       But, the media divides and separates
       like Playtex Living Bras.

       In their eyes, homogeneous and harmonious
       quilts are a non-story.

       Long-nosed puppets, politicians
       over promise, under-deliver.
       You and I have to make
       our own peace with one another.

The poet sees, really sees, the world around her. In the art of living, we often,
and in diverse ways disengage to do other work, important work like making
our own peace with one another.

In a famous quote by Jane Kenyon on the calling and commission of the poet,
Kenyon had this to say:

       “The poet’s job is to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, in
       such a beautiful way that people cannot live without it; to put into words
       those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so
       difficult to name.”
              —From A Hundred Daffodils

As I trace Buschmann’s thought, I find no hint of over-stated piety. She is a
dedicated student of the human condition.

She is good at putting into words those feelings so important, and yet so dif-
ficult to name. Who among us would resent this reminder about the dangers of
engaging in “Gossip”:

       A snake lurks
       in the dark

       infuses carriers
       with venom

       sinks fangs into
               by proxy

Buschmann’s poetry showcases variety and craftsmanship. The poems are an
interesting mix of free verse, rondeau, haiku, a collaborative piece, two prose
poems and several poems with as many as 12 indentations which delightfully
fuse form and message.

Enticing titles drew me in: “Giving Birth to a Dancing Star,” raises the curtain,
“The Futility of Darkness,” made me curious about why,

       The sun slips

“Green Beans, Potatoes, Ham & Charlie,” brought back memories of my child-
hood when my parents insisted that I could not get down from the supper table
until I ate ALL my green beans.

“A Blessing,” is dedicated to James Wright; Langston Hughes is channeled in
“Nature’s Medicine.” I have read Hughes, Buschmann’s take is faithful not only
to Hughes’ style but to the truth about his world.

The poet’s titles piqued my interest; her content made me stay.

As a reviewer I seldom purchase poetry books. I receive a steady stream of
them in the mail. However, I would order this collection in a heartbeat. Where
else would I learn about “Nature’s Hairbrush”?

       Twigs and branches
               black and brittle
       flew off trees
               during the storm
       as if a giant hairbrush
       had winnowed
       the stiff, lifeless tresses
       empowering the living
       to dance
       in the breeze.

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