It’s not often when a budding poet reaches into our hearts while exploring the depths of his experiences, but that’s precisely what Nicholas Coughlin did when he took a poetry class at the University of Minnesota. His poetry isn’t something mystical, something with cavernous meaning, something impenetrable. It’s just poetry meant for ordinary readers. As I wrote in a brief review of the book, it contains “eight poems dealing with animal rights, racial discord, the American dream and other issues. These poems, which became Ars Poetica, wrestle with the traumatic and soul-searching issues one person has dealt with as he found his place in the world. The issues are confronted head on, the images are arresting, the language is sharp. Ars Poetica isn’t a book for one who is looking for daisies in a field of flowers, but it is honest in its portrayal of some of the ugly underside of modern life. As Thoreau causes one to examine where life should take us, these poems challenge the reader to confront accepted norms and ask whether they ought to be accepted.” Ars Poetica was released in both deluxe and standard editions. Both were letterpress printed and hard cover bound by hand in my shop. The deluxe edition is out of print, but there are a handful of the standard edition remaining.
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