poetry of the engineer
by Curt B. Vevang
59 Poems ~ 7 B/W Illustrations ~ 79 Pages
Format: 6’’ x 9’’ ~ Perfect Bound
Price: $5.95
Independently Published
ISBN: 97986970553249
To Order: Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble

Reviewed by Michael Escoubas

In his poem “At a Window,” an engaging but little-known work by Carl Sandburg, Sandburg writes:

        Let me go to the window,
        Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
        And wait and know the coming
        Of a little love.

Sandburg’s lines returned to me as I enjoyed Curt Vevang’s latest collection, poetry of the engineer. This may seem an odd comparison given Vevang’s background as an industrial engineer educated in the highly regarded engineering program at the University of Illinois. (Hard to top those credentials!)

With that said, Curt Vevang, like Sandburg, has a special knack for showing his readers the joy of life through the windows of his verse. The tone of Sandburg’s poem is darker than Vevang’s poetry. However, the resemblance between the two in terms of subject and perspective, is quite striking.

Through the Window of Nature

Vevang brings together both contrast and rhyme in this excerpt from:

        Rainbows Are Hard to Come By

Too much rain spoils a rainbow’s day,
        and too much sun can make it go away.

        We see that nature lives upon the cusp,
        somewhere between too much and not enough.

In these deceptively simple couplets, they number seven in all, Vevang highlights:

        Nature’s goodness [which] flows freely without end,
        though its dark side is seldom any friend.

With a gentle hand on my shoulder we look out of the window:

        In My Backyard

The morning dew floats skyward
        as the sundial forever inches through time.

        Shafts of sunlight come and go while bees
        flirt away the morn in their lavender bed.

Vevang's use of detail is instructive:

        Beads of water from the overnight rain, cling
        to the rose trellis, awaiting their turn to drip.

This is the very essence of poetry: first the artist enjoys his subject, then the poem, already formed in the poet’s mind, comes to the page out of memory’s inventory.

Through the Window of Youth

One of the great joys of life is watching my six-year-old granddaughter go rock climbing, swimming, and participating in other sports tailored for kids at entry level. In “Mighty Megan At the Bat,” Vevang uses rhyming couplets to describe Megan playing “Tee Ball,” an abbreviated version of the National Pastime. I can see the poet in my mind’s eye, cheering Megan on during:

        A warm spring evening, game time approaches,
        no umps to be found, just kids and coaches.

        Fancy uniforms, a number and name,
        quite a change from when I played the game.

This is where your reviewer lives … within the lives of youth burgeoning with all the vitality that defines life at the tender age of six. I know that I will never return to that level of energy and innocence. Curt Vevang knows this too, as the two of us peer …

Through the Window of Nostalgia

        The Old Neighborhood

A CVS Pharmacy now stands where the Cher Ami
        cocktail lounge, named after a famous World War
        I homing pigeon, once stood.

        A tavern named the Dog House has been replaced
        by a T-Mobile phone store.

The poem develops a litany of loss and change … life so different now, changes intractable, unrelenting until the final curtain falls on life as it used to be …

        Gone are the bars, the bed bugs and the romance.

Other windows shined and buffed include: “The Fairer Sex,” “A Perfect Spot at Tea Time,” and “How to Impress at a Winetasting.”

Altogether, poems of the engineer contains 59 superbly crafted poems, augmented by seven black and white photographs. About one half of the poems employ rhyme. “At Wrigley Field,” is an excellent villanelle which highlights the poet’s range and skill. Most of all, and best of all, this is poetry written from the wisdom of years.

In the tradition of Carl Sandburg, Curt Vevang whispers:

        Let me go to the window,
        Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
        And wait and know the coming
        Of a little love.


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