Cheryl Rice

“My Minnesota Boyhood” Getting Great Reviews and Other News from the Woodstock Area

Cheryl Rice

Back in May we told you about Cheryl Rice’s brand new book, My Minnesota Boyhood, and what a wonderful collection of poetry it is. Now it looks like the rest of the world is catching up with what have known all along.

In the latest edition of Red Fez, Rebecca Schumejda interviews Cheryl about the book and the fact the she 1) did not have a boyhood and 2) is not from Minnesota.

I think that writing from my friend’s point of view, which really only happens in a few poems (some may appear to be from his POV, but are mainly conjecture) was inspired not only by my tremendous affection for him, but a kind of frustration that he wasn’t writing more about what I considered to be a fascinating subject, life in Minnesota. We are the same age, but his life experiences– ice fishing, boating on big lakes, his grandparents’ farm– all seemed to be begging to be written about, and he wasn’t doing it enough, at least to my satisfaction! What nerve I had!! But, you write about what moves you. He will get to all he has to say eventually, and I think writing about his childhood is a roundabout way for me to get to mine, which my next main chapbook collection is about.

And Chronogram Magazine recently reviewed the book in its 2012 Poetry Roundup and said:

Unfazed by “having had neither / a boyhood nor a Minnesota,” Kingston spoken-word diva Rice baits her ice-fishing hook and hauls an imaginary childhood from the murky depths where shards of her Long Island youth commingle with a friend’s “Midwestern fields in plaids of green and brown” and a dash of Frostbite Falls. Ice persists in Manhattan (“Rockefeller Center”) and upstate, yielding to warmer seasons (“The World Stood Still For Easter,” “Spring Thaw,” “Abundance”) and the drowning of inconstant love, “…his hollow bones / bear me up over these Catskill cliffs, watery moods. / How deeply can I hold my breath?” Rice’s plainspoken eloquence gives this chapbook a liquid grace.

If you do not have your very own copy of this great book of poetry (and supported one of the area’s finest poets), you will get your chance this Saturday in Woodstock as Chronogram is presenting a very special event called “The Chronogram Poets” hosted by books editor Nina Shengold. Cheryl will be joined on stage by poets including Stuart Bartow, Anne Gorrick, Lee Gould, and George Quasha, whose books are also a part of the 2012 Poetry Roundup.