To See the Bonnards

To See the Bonnards: poems
Some poems here previously appeared in: Aeolian Harp, The Briar Cliff Review, Collateral Damage, California Quarterly, Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace, COG, The Daily Palette, The Dryland Fish, In residence, The Iowa Source, JuJubes, Kentucky Review, Lascaux Review, Lyrical Iowa, The MacGuffin, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetry East, Poets/Artists, Section 8, Verse Daily. Many thanks to the editors of these journals.

Five Fabulous Poems by Rustin Larson

How It Is In The Hazel Moon

Kuan Yin. Oracle Woodberry.

Rays of morning sun

from The Hazel Moon Cafe,

a pool, dusky blue, on the sidewalk.

The light is a benediction.

Mocha Lavender.

London Fog.

I leave the Library of Congress, circle

the Catholic church, my eyes cooled

by the terracotta virgin in the rectory yard.

I run my hands over the painted iron fence,

Amaretto Magical Peach Cobbler,

window eye

clown character juggling.

Is each coffee I drink a cup of shining brown happiness?

The autumn sky liquefies clear of memory.

Do I always wish myself to be somewhere else,

to sit in a cafe, to pray I can touch the dead,

whole dollar experiences,

looking on, remembering Russian,

painting notable clouds as greater clouds?

Washington, D.C. cannot be any more complete

for the style of void in my head.

Instead of lunch, I walk to the National Gallery,

stare at Rembrandt’s face, try to write,

the fakirs, the good affectionately timed

old days, The Beatles, the baritone guitar.

Hello, Hello,

on this day, Rembrandt wants no words from me.

His cold stare empties the world of poetry.

How do I know you?

C’est papa?

Brother Clown Bead Man?

And on this day, my unborn daughter finds my hand

and my wife’s.

Big Chief Mudra is hungry

for bean sacks thrown by kids.

And life is life is life is life is life is life.

Beethoven says hello to the sea.

SPOTLIGHT: SLAP poetry by Rustin Larson

Alien Buddha Press


It’s not my fault we’re out
of money. The star charts,
celestial navigation, I
understand nothing. Here
is another delivery of cake.
The forbidden kingdom, China’s
workers, sacred voices.
American poetry died in 1957.
There is nothing to celebrate.
Hug the moon and smile like
a virgin. The plans of the
universe are like smoke. The
desert becomes golden with
sunlight and water. I remember
sitting in an art quarry
waiting for John Ashbery to read.
Just where they were all going
afterward, and who exactly
they were, I now speculate
with bias and stereotypes.
You know, and anyway, there
used to be a great place to
buy strawberry pie after almost
anything. People think they’ve
got me pegged. If you are
patient and know where to
look, you could do research.
You’d probably learn very little.
Nowadays, I lie in bed with
Caroline and we watch old

View original post 513 more words

Summer Reading Recommendations 2021

North of Oxford

Top ten book reviews based on readership of North of Oxford


A Little Excitement by Nancy Scott


Erotic by Alexis Rhone-Fancher


Danish Northwest/Hygge Poems from the Outskirts by Peter Graarup Westergaard

red rover

Red Rover Red Rover by Bob Hicok


Razor Wire Wilderness by Stephanie Dickinson

American Quasar CoverA Camera Obscura Cover

American Quasar by David Campos / A Camera Obscura by Carl Marcum


The Likely World by Melanie Conroy-Goldman


Adjusting to the Lights – Poems by Tom C. Hunley


The Philosopher Savant Crosses The River by Rustin Larson


Come-Hither Honeycomb by Erin Belieu




View original post

SPOTLIGHT: ANVILHEAD by Rustin Larson (an Excerpt)

Alien Buddha Press

I chose to avoid hardware stores because I knew those would be the first places they would go to preach in the hidden fascist meeting rooms in the back espousing their intergalactic fascism and bigotry. I picked a flower today, a tiger lily which were once thought unpatriotic though they bloom on the fourth of July.

I heard the lemon dealer scream at a passing car. Oh, those passing cars, their shouted insults and threats from cowardly passengers or drivers. They frequently focus their rage on the lemon dealer. I have also been a target of their jibes, but I only once heard distinctly, “I’m going to KILL you!” The lemon dealer seemed incensed. He ran into the street and bellowed and demanded they (driver and passenger) return and engage in combat. They squealed away and disappeared over our famous suicide train tracks.

It’s that time again with neighbors launching…

View original post 977 more words

Praise for Red Wing, stories by Rustin Larson

Red Wing

Praise for Rustin Larson’s Red Wing:

The stories are beautiful. I think you’ve made your mark as a writer of the Iowa landscape, particularly in winter, and small town life. These stories heavily affected by place are so memorable and poignant, plus often funny too.

–Suzanne Rhodenbaugh

I’m enjoying the stories. I especially have liked “Pearl Harbor,” “The Incomplete History of The Village Of Orilla,” “Lola, and “Road Trip.” I love the sense of place throughout the collection. Can really feel the landscape. The evoking with sensual images is also strong, as well as the use of dialogue.

–Michael Carrino

Review of Lost Letters and Windfalls by Nynke Passi

Review of Rustin Larson’s Lost Letters and Windfalls

Lost Letters and Windfalls

The world of Rustin Larson’s Lost Letters and Windfalls is populated with the ordinary and the ecstatic. Among cornfields, junkyards, and a Dairy Queen an eclectic cast of characters marches across a rural stage: an old woman small “like a burlap bag / full of nylons,” angels, finches, family members, the wind, the muse, and a young girl in a Degas painting.

The poet asserts: “The light falls upon all things. I have/ my memory of you—quiet as a/ picture frame among all these broken houses.” In poem after poem, Larson distills to the essence, painting tableaux firmly cast in time yet strangely eternal. Even the elements and houses have temperaments: “A violent emptiness is / the wind, and it can pick up whole / houses, if it wants, piling them like / crumpled egg shells in an open field.” Or: “The old house is crumbling from sympathy.”

While things fall apart, they are also restored and put back together. Somewhere along the way, all things turn a bit holy: “But here’s what we are: each man, each woman, / each neuter object, a church.” There is an unmistakable imagist quiet at the heart of the universe: “We can choose / to stand outside ourselves if we wish, the snow falling.”

“Listen,” Larson urges, “the world / begins in a moment.” The moment is painterly, vivid. The poet trusts only his “sense of touch.” Each poem etches a picture onto our retinas. Nothing much happens while the movement of life is also momentous. A daughter’s birth is announced like a “little beacon / pulse on the sonogram” and a father-in-law’s death is marked by his children sitting “in the room” and speaking “softly to the afternoon.” Every moment turns nearly breathless.

The universe of Larson’s poems exudes a warmth where “planets are “fishing / for us, wanting / us.” “The moon is the friend of the earth / and the earth of the sun.” This is a book of small tendernesses and lightning bolts that you will remember for a long time.