cover of book

Sweetgum & Lightning
by Rodney Terich Leonard
Four Way Books, 2021
Paper: 978-1-945588-74-7 | eISBN: 978-1-945588-86-0
Library of Congress Classification PS3612.E5744S94 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

An intersection of jazz and the written word: poems to be experienced and felt

Sweetgum & Lightning lets us into an extraordinary poetic universe, shaped by a vernacular rooted in the language of self, one’s origins, and music. In poems that are deeply sensual in nature, Rodney Terich Leonard considers gender and sexuality, art, poverty, and community. Imagery expands through unexpected lexical associations and rumination on the function of language; words take on new meaning and specificity, and the music of language becomes tantamount to the denotations of words themselves. Through extensive webs of connotation, Leonard’s narratives achieve a sense of accuracy and intimacy. The nuanced lens of these poems is indicative of the honesty of expression at work in the collection—one that affirms the essentiality of perception to living and memory.

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