Timothy Stobierski is the author of Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer and lives in Ansonia, CT. Tim interned for three summers with Yale University Press in the acquisitions department and is currently seeking a career in publishing.
". . . one of the best poetry books I've read in a long time."
"A terrific read for anyone who loves modern poetry."
I think it is natural when a publisher accepts a book of yours for publication to become curious about who else they have published. The other books they have published tells you something, if nothing else something about your work. That’s what originally got me interested in Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer by Timothy Stobierski, River Otter Press had accepted my book, Bones Buried in the Dirt, for publication in January . . . but Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer was the first book River Otter Press ever published.
Now, the first thing I would like to say is that I really ended up enjoying this book of poems. I found the writing to be very approachable. That may not be a big deal for some of you, but I’m not exactly a poetry scholar. I like reading poetry, but I haven’t devoted the same kind of rigor to its study that I have to fiction. Really, I just like being able to pick it up and enjoy. And, though the poems in this collection are skillfully composed, they still just let me sit back and enjoy.
When he was a young boy,
there was one promise he made
to himself, the same promise
that you made, that I made, that she made.
One aspect I enjoyed about this collection was the variety. Some of the poems possess simple and straightforward, honest emotion. This can be seen in this selection from “In the Maternity Ward”:
He can’t help it,
sniffs the newborn’s head;
there’s a slight smell of sweet musk—
fresh peached in spring.
His lips graze the child’s scalp,
nuzzle the vernal pelt.
How soft the flesh,
so prone to bruising;
it must be cradled,
tended with care—
but he’s a big man,
and the child is so small.
Others have such surprising twists and turns that it is delightful just to follow the flow of Stobierski’s mind. It’s an interesting mind, fluid and logical but certainly not predictable, as this bit from “Gastronomica” illustrates:
My girlfriend puts her heart and soul
into everything she cooks,
and it’s nice to know she loves me enough
to tear out those essentials and share—
don’t get me wrong—
but I don’t think she realizes just how chewy valves can be,
or how difficult it is to eat a waffled soul,
however much syrup is applied.
Some of the poems have humor, and some are softly dark. Some are strange, but some have a resonating simplicity. All together, these poems span an impressive range. Whatever you are looking for, it’s probably here. And, more importantly, along the way you will likely find things you should have been looking for without knowing that you should have.
Now, I do admit that poetry isn’t my first love. In fact, I often read it in secret so I can just enjoy the poems and not let anyone know that I’m not an expert. Regardless, I do read it and I do read enough to know what I like. That’s all I really needed to know for Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer, and that’s all I need to know to know that I like it.