It’s always been difficult for me to wade through the subjective haze, which has become contemporary American poetry. At first glance that might seem to be a rather bland statement. Yet, since Whitman and Dickinson introduced the world to the concept of “organic verse,” American poets have taken the genre in multiple directions that continue to expand. To list the exponentially growing movements would be little more than a rudimentary exercise in “who knows what.”
However, when the smoke clears the method of overwhelming choice has become the free verse narrative. That which seems easy while being anything but. Think about writing a song. Consider the relationship between Brian Wilson and Mike Love when Love focuses upon “the hook.” A poet has that luxury only in the context of the more primitive levels on the rung. The present day narrative wordsmiths are often torn between their concepts of what is or is not profound. Dr. Williams showed us that profundity has a natural existence in the simple recording of reality and the concept of “things.”
I met Tim Peeler in 1999. Oddly, it was a simple complimentary note related to a piece of fiction I’d read in a small press journal. He immediately directed me to his recently published book of poems, “Touching All the Bases,” a collection of baseball poetry. I knew immediately that I had to meet him. After that we began a correspondence that hasn’t lost its strength over these past 15 years. I’ve had not only the pleasure of publishing several of his books, but the privilege of watching him hone his craft on a daily basis. I can’t recall the exact moment when I realized he had found “it,” but I remember vividly realizing at some point that he’d reached a very significant plateau and that all the tools were in order to allow his visions and perceptions to take hold.
In America, we’ve long since passed a point in which “culture” can be an all inclusive concept. We are a potpourri of cultures. Some so tiny as to be almost less than obscure. Tim Peeler looks at the amalgam of community, breaks down the cultures, and assesses them poetically with the keenest of visions. He sees the things that the rest of us have viewed for so long that we no longer notice. There is a value in such perceptions as well as a beauty that only the weakest among us can ignore. — Carter Monroe
A past winner of the Jim Harrison Award for contributions to baseball literature, Tim Peeler has also been a Casey Award Finalist (baseball book of the year) and a finalist for the SIBA Award. He lives with his wife, Penny in Hickory, North Carolina, where he directs the academic assistance programs at Catawba Valley Community College. He has written thirteen books and this is his third chapbook.