Waving Mustard in Surrender (Paperback)
NYQ Books, 9781935520993, 168pp.
Publication Date: September 18, 2014
The poems in Al Ortolani's newest collection, Waving Mustard in Surrender, come from the streets of Kansas City and the farm roads of Southeast Kansas. His narratives are as much at home on asphalt as they are in bean fields. The natural world is common to the many facets of this collection. Like birds, his poems fly with striking images-as accessible as crank-pot crows, assassin herons, or starlings startled by cannon shot. There's a good deal of wind and spit, flower and piss in a poetry where tornadoes and baseball are not incongruous to a single summer evening. His characters are tough and smart. They revel in a lingering city decadence and messy small town beauty.