Learning to Settle Down by Chad Norman

Chad Norman lives and works in Truro, Nova Scotia and Learning to Settle Down (2015, Black Moss Press) is his sixteenth published book of poetry. This was my first experience reading Mr. Norman’s poems and the impression I received after reading through them is his attention to the small things that surround us, so the title is most apropos.

From “Frost on a Fingernail” to “String on a Finger” to “Keeping Perfection Attainable” these are the poems of a man taking in the little day to day things and noting them in the way poets do.

One of my favourite poems was “A Symphony of Creaks” which has the postscript “written while walking home Feb 5/10.”

Rising, shift over,
walking out of,
stepping up the stairs
which bring him
up from the job
into a temperature
gone down in a day,
down to degrees
brought to the water
which will cause ice, a freeze
the wind is responsible for,
as he steps toward
the walk into trees,
a wind only branches know
as he steps upon white inches,
into streets where most waken,
into streets the houses protect,
away from the music of flakes,
a late season, away from
what he wants, some kind of symphony, yes, a Beethoven
of creaks, the trees playing
like keys, a symphony of creaks.

In keeping with the changing of seasons, there is “Summer Going Somewhere” which mentions “the lawn’s/dry unmown/blades of grass” and “When Night Gives Way to Morning” about kissing “the face of a sunflower/after an evening of frost.” Very evocative imagery, especially as I write this, summer is indeed “going somewhere” and there is a touch of frost these mornings.

I enjoyed reading all the poems in Learning to Settle Down and I look forward to reading more of Mr. Norman’s work soon.

Learning to Settle down by Chad Norman
Black Moss Press

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James M. Fisher is the Founding Editor of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. He works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane, their tabby cat Eddie, and Buster the Red Merle Border Collie.