Born near Boston Dave Morrison is a writer of novels, short stories, poetry, and many notes on scraps of paper. After years of playing guitar in rock & roll bars in
Hailed as 'A hearty weed in the
"Morrison's readings are much akin to performances; his presentations are dramatic and lyrical and betray his years as a rock-and-roll musician." (Ken Gross
"Let me state up front that I’m crazy about Dave Morrison’s poetry and have been for quite a while.
There is no voice quite like his. What shines in every poem is musical sound and rhythm, grittiness, reality, humor, and the rare ability to tackle serious subjects without taking himself too seriously. There is a wonderful, refreshing lack of pretentiousness and self-pity in all his poems
and books." (Alice Persons, Editor and Publisher, Moon Pie Press)
"There is an embrace of joy I found surprising. The past still breeds regrets in many of these poems, but the present and future seem to be taking Morrison a bit by surprise by occasionally being fueled not by anger, but by something he refers to more than once as holy. It’s good stuff." (Dagney Ernest – Courier Publications)
"Poems that act like people we recognize- poetry that's counting its' tips and cutting in the busboy after last call . . . walking home alone on the tracks whistling in the dark . . . trashing the dressing room on closing night . . . sneaking sharp objects into the locked unit. . . So, Morrison's writing is a humorous friend sharing his take evenly and fairly, moving with lonesome bravado, showing off some questionable behavior and shamelessly breaking rules for the sane and their custodians. This collection rocks!" (Kathy Polenberg, author of I'm Your Field Trip and NJ Yellowed Pages)
"So there's obviously no f**king with Dave Morrison's writing…read [it] by
candlelight while drinking straight from the bottle, the radio playing softly in the corner." (Matt DiGangi, Editor Thieves Jargon)
"A tidal wave of outrageous creativity; a wild rift of lines
that leave you out of breath,
fascinated, manipulated, articulated. Watch out!"-
(Elizabeth Garber, author of Pierced by the Seasons and Listening Inside the Dance)
"...like Mary Oliver with a leather jacket and a
sense of humor."
(Sharon Mesmer author of HALF ANGEL, HALF LUNCH
and THE EMPTY QUARTER )
"Dave is a rare animal among poets. When you witness him reading his
work, you see how his years onstage as a rocker have given him some
unique skills that most poets lack. Needing to keep bar / club audiences
entertained and engaged while sometimes being the target of drunken
abuse and the occasional thrown bottle have made him a wiley, energetic
and sometimes puckish bard.
Morrison's Poetry Lives Up To Its Name
"Sweet," Dave Morrison's first book of poetry, is well titled. Though it takes
its name and cover imagery from a rather disconcerting poem within, I mean
the word in the popular slang usage as something really fine and welcome.
The week I worked my way through the paperback, I was reading selections
aloud to friends and colleagues, enjoying their reactions to the many poems
I found compelling.
Morrison, a familiar face to those who took in last spring's People's Poetry
Project gatherings will introduce his book and read from it 6:30 p.m. Tuesday,
Sept. 12, at the downtown Camden Public Library. His background includes
years as a New England rock singer/songwriter, as well as creative writing
studies at New York City's New School University. While "Sweet" is his first
book of poetry, he has had poems, short stories and a novella published in
The performer and writer synch in many of these poems and not just via
subject matter. I'm told Morrison falls into the performance poet category at
readings and many of these poems seem geared towards that.
"My 2 minutes are up" tracks a racing mind, one seeped in music and other
forms of popular culture, while "When I go" depicts a mind racing to all the
wrong conclusions. The latter is harrowing, while the former provokes laughter,
but both ring true.
Close observations and boisterous energy abound in "Sweet," from a
skewering of joke-telling clichés to the experience of sitting through a
mediocre play to "Filling Out the Poets and Writers Directory Form." The
latter is one of several poems that address the writing of poetry itself; my
favorite is "Good day." This poem uses a device Morrison employs in several
selections, a repeating line at the end of each of every few staves. In general,
I found that a little pat, although Morrison gives it a final twist at the end
Maybe the repetition rubs me the wrong way because so many of the
poems have a forward-driven momentum that really grabs and takes the
reader along for what is often a humorous ride, albeit with a cutting edge. A
blurb on the jacket calls Morrison's work "like Mary Oliver with a leather
jacket." I'll buy that. I also bought the poems that left humor aside. I
particularly like "learning to grieve," which subtly uses drowning as a
metaphor for a process that often feels just like that.
Other poems include fine images that I turned back to savor again after
reading to the end. "Snow 10:30 am" ends by describing its subject
as "a/criss-crossing shower of/cold clean/dust." "October 1" begins with: "my
favorite jack-o-lantern/is my own fingers/cupped to light a cigarette." Smoking
is a regular player in "Sweet," as is love and music and insecurity about the
future and memories of the past, especially a coveted '69 Camaro.
Two poems are the epitome of the "what if" writing exercise: "Award" and
"looking out to sea" both take their conceits and run away with them to
ridiculous, yet curiously intriguing places. "Cain" is an eight-part exploration
of the biblical murder story that takes its cues from the love/hate bond of
brothers. Morrison seems up for trying all kinds of things when he writes
and even when he doesn't think he
can. In "Failed Poem," he finds himself with "No rhymes, no rules, no rhythm;
nothing more than tiny sparks on/wet wires./All I can say with any/honesty is
that it is/Saturday night and I am/hungry."
If you're hungry for honest poetry, "Sweet" will fill you up. The book is
available at local book stores and online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble
and publisher lulu.com.