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Impenitent Notes
Baron Wormser

Notable Voices

2011 • 116 pp. 6 x 9 1/4"

$16.00 Paperback, 978-1-933880-23-5

I‘m here to recall what I never knew,’ writes Baron Wormser in ‘Abandoned Asylum, Northampton, Massachusetts,’ the final poem in this fine collection. While he may never have been there... [continued in Reviews below]”—Teresa Scollon, ForeWord Review

Impenitent Notes covers a range of subjects from Henry Kissinger and Goya in a variety of forms from free verse to sestina

Wormser’s poetry is emphatically about people—how they do and do not accommodate themselves to the ever present hand of time. Whether following the life of a rock band through its various incarnations or imagining the meeting of Rilke and Babe Ruth or speaking to a mother who has lost her soldier son in Iraq, Wormser gets inside his characters’ hearts and minds.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

I‘m here to recall what I never knew,’ writes Baron Wormser in ‘Abandoned Asylum, Northampton, Massachusetts,’ the final poem in this fine collection. While he may never have been there himself, Wormser’s poetry successfully places the reader alongside a wide range of characters in a variety of predicaments: the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, a stutterer, a man tortured in 1970s Chile. Wormser’s own history appears as well, and the ruminations of an intelligent person in this age: how torture became so fascinating, or why hedge fund advisors make so darn much money. The worst of human nature is often present, though it may sound ‘very thin and far away, / Almost like music or a voice / With a broken windpipe.’ Not everything is serious: ordinary joys—like be-bopping in the car to the radio—are here, too, and so is whimsy: Percy Bysshe Shelley shows up as a stoner with some ‘quality weed,’ and Babe Ruth advises Kid Rilke. The sometimes odd sources of comfort are a recurrent theme. These poems are easy to slip into and enjoy. What takes more time to soak in is Wormser’s astonishing ability to imagine another’s experience, and his masterful use of language. He weaves a wabi-sabi garment here—not shabby, but of subtle tones, the kind of fabric that forces one to notice texture, the fine and subtle threads of warp and weft. The former poet laureate of Maine, Wormser is the author of ten books of poetry and prose, and co-author of two books about teaching poetry, including A Surge of Language: Teaching Poetry Day by Day, an exceptional resource for educators. What most stands out in this collection, however, is Wormser’s willingness to accompany humans into difficulty. ‘Eve Dying’ considers a story heretofore passed over too quickly: Eve, the first woman, is also the first woman to experience death. And through Eve, the reader remembers that we all will face death for the first and only time. Aware of language’s limitations in fully capturing the ‘jeweled moment,’ Wormser nevertheless persists, and in this unadorned voice is the kind of empathy most needed for these times: intelligent and unafraid. Like Whitman in ‘For His Part: Walt Whitman (1863),’ Wormser is the poet who ‘voyaged / to the edge of human warmth and held the hand / as it turned cold. That was the poem the poet had always known / and from which he never turned away.’”Teresa Scollon, ForeWord Review

“Baron Wormser’s incandescent, exacting, generous intelligence never allows him the luxury of detachment. Like all real subversion, his poetry hinges on responsibility. If there's irony, it’s the irony of reality, of tragedy: the only animal that claims to know itself cannot save itself. Wormser can show you what’s inside those emotions—hope, desire—whose outsides have names . . . Impenitent Notes is essential work.”—D. Nurkse

From the Book:


Going off over
The garage. Incoming.
Dark and quiet in the house.
Dog on the braided

Rug Marlene made
Back in the 70s.
Shifts in his sleep.
McAllister screams:

“Help me!”
Night dark and quiet.
President speaking.
Which one?

Democracy and freedom.
Marlene left the rugs
when she left.

“I still love you but....”
Freedom. Night dark.
Flares going off. Screaming
In his blood.

Dog picks his head up.
Middle of the night.
Quiet. Incoming.

BARON WORMSER is the author/co-author of a dozen books including poetry, short stories and a memoir.

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:09:31 -0500