Jon Ballard

The poems in Trees Make You Think of Other Things contain a strain or undercurrent of melancholy, apprehension, and dissatisfaction in keeping with the style of work I've developed in the last few years--much of that work appearing in two recent chapbooks.  What makes this collection a bit different is the fact that it not only culls from my recent writings, it also brings into the mix some pieces written as much as twenty years ago. As a result, this chapbook reflects in part an evolution in my work: the alteration over time, for good or bad, in the poetics of mood, memory, line, and subject matter.  What this might mean to potential (much-appreciated) readers isn't clear, but for me it defines a certain mutability, a way of seeing the world, that's inseparable from the fact of growing older.  While most of the pieces here are representative of the poet I am at this very moment in time, a few others are snapshots of a poet I haven't known for years and might not even recognize--or apologize to--if I bumped into him on the street.

From the book:


You never think of flowers
In relation to anything else, nor

Even trees, though trees at least
Seem to scaffold the sky at times,

(As if the particular vista you're
Thinking of was a work in progress.)

And once, on a walk in the woods
With your father, you came upon
A rotted red oak-the old man's guess-
Strewn over the two-track like a toppled

Ghost. “Gypsy moths,” he whispered,
Fingering the grey bark with a reverence

The living would never expect of him.  
So: it seems that trees do make you

Think of other things, and there are so
Many of them-trees and other things-

That you begin to feel oppressed by  
The incalculable intimations, the math
Of associations, the cold roots, the leaves.  

Jon Ballard's poetry has appeared in over forty publications, including, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, Barnwood Magazine, Stone Table Review, Blue Earth Review, The MacGuffin, Boxcar Poetry Review, and Soundings East.  He is the author of two previous poetry chapbooks, Lonesome (Pudding House) and Sad Town (Maverick Duck Press), both published in 2007.  Jon received a BA and an MA in English from Oakland University in Rochester, MI.  He is also an occasional instructor of writing and literature at Oakland Community College in Royal Oak, Michigan.  A Michigan native, he currently lives in Mexico City, Mexico with his wife Betsy, and his two daughters, Madeleine and Natalie.

is a 28 page hand-stitched chapbook.

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