The Taco Boat by Al Ortolani
NYQ Books, October 2022
Al Ortolani’s most recent collection of poems, The Taco Boat, focuses not just on the people of the American Midwest, but on the connection to the humor and pragmatism of working men and women. His poems are vignettes from the fields of Kansas, the hills of the Ozarks, and the streets of Kansas City. They are about good dogs and crazy cats. His people are family and strangers alike. Both are seen with an empathetic eye. They share an attachment to the joys and exasperations of being human, struggling to understand, to thrive. The poems in The Taco Boat step back from the day-to-day with an acceptance of the life its characters have been tossed into. The images are frequently taken from the natural world, but just as often are from the mechanic’s garage, the fast-food restaurant, the baseball diamond, the assisted living cafeteria. The poems in The Taco Boat are about the relationships people build, dismantle, and build again.
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