Today's poem is "Annual Report"
from In the Presence of Absence

MoonPath Press

Richard Widerkehr earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. He has two collections of poems: The Way Home (Plain View Press) and Her Story of Fire (Egress Studio Press) along with two chapbooks. Tarragon Books published his novel, Sedimental Journey, about a geologist in love with a fictional character. He won first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference, three awards in the Bridge's poetry contests, and two Sue Boynton Contest awards. He's held residencies at Centrum in Port Townsend, WA, and taught workshops there. Recent work has appeared in Rattle, Arts & Letters, Bellevue Literary Review, Floating Bridge Review, Gravel, Naugatuck River Review, Sweet Tree Review, West Trade Review, and Cirque. Other poems are forthcoming in Measure, Chiron Review, The Binnacle, Avatar, and Mud Season Review. He's worked as a writing teacher in the Upward Bound Program at Western Washington University and, later, as a case manager with the mentally ill. He and his partner Linda live in Bellingham, WA.

Books by Richard Widerkehr:

Other poems on the web by Richard Widerkehr:
"Picking Blueberries by a Driveway"
"In the Presence of Absence"
"At the South End of Lake Whatcom"
"Plucking Flowers"
"Pear Trees on Irving Street"
Three poems
"Deep In May"

About In the Presence of Absence:

"Richard Widerkehr's In the Presence of Absence is a book of loss and recovery, grief and wonder. These are poems informed with clarity and compassion, and a quiet lyricism in confronting the mortal world, the death of parents, and life-threatening illness. There is a freshness and ease of manner to Widerkehr's writing and at times a kind of other worldly aura, 'that strange gift from the other side.' There is as well a deep gratitude that infuses these poems, that grounds them in the here and now. He is a poet who has 'been dealt happiness, /grief, and two wild cards.' And we are the lucky readers who have been dealt these marvelous poems."
—Joseph Stroud

"In The Presence Of Absence overflows with musicality, surprising imagery, and gratitude earned by paying attention to the small moments that make up a reverent life: 'the black trees reflected in a roadside puddle, ' a mother's slow passing, and the tenderness with which the poet stands witness to her death, 'I must be true/ to your story./I can't tell it/one spoonful at a time.' This book details a heart that is wide open to both the pain and beauty of life. Widerkehr sings Kaddish for his father, admires bikini-clad women on a resort beach in Mexico, and observes his own cancer surgery, all the while knowing we are just passing through. We can learn much from these remarkable poems. As Widerkehr brilliantly says, 'It's time to make my statement/ about how certain stars float in the night.'"
—Gayle Kaune

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