On the Dock | Review by Norbert Blei


Most writers tend to have certain obsessions when it comes to subject matter, which they either realize and accept or believe they’re continually writing something new, different—which may also be the case, as time lends a different perspective to everything we experience in life.

Busha, to me, in the many years I’ve read him, seems to have an obsession with one of Wisconsin’s small lakes (Winnebago) and, in particular, that once old-time, weathered, wooden dock that creaked and groaned and moved almost poetically under one’s footsteps, as it led, jutted out over the water, and brought, especially a young boy, (land-bound) closer, ever closer to the source of his great growing-up love: being a part of it all—if it just staring into the water blue of it all, or confronting the mystery of it with a fishing pole, or mindlessly running and jumping off the dock, into it on a hot summer’s day in an almost religious rite akin to baptism—but beyond.

Here’s Busha at his best in a tiny book (held together by a single staple, “4 ½” by almost “3 ½”), of 10 tiny pages (including the inside covers), 6 tiny, 3-lined poems per page, which comes to a grand total of 60 tiny poems of Basho-like resonance—the meaning of a dock in a boy’s life…an image that won’t fade in a man’s memory. — Norbert Blei

norbP.S. Reaching for the greater metaphor…I’m more than aware that the Winnebago is the largest of Wisconsin’s many small lakes…but I was going for the sense of little and dock (the dock photographed happens to be on Europe Lake, sometimes called ‘Little’ Lake) and intimacy and a boy and water and fishing and memories…and I could have just as easily not selected (from the 60 poems) one that actually mentions ‘Lake Winnebago,’ but there was as usual a method to my madness, (even a chronology to the poems I selected) and I needed to place the reader (in the beginning of the intro) where the boy/man finds himself and where he’s headed for greater discovery through age…so I’ll leave questionable people factually conscious of big and small bodies of Wisconsin waters with this: maybe the suggestion and the operable metaphor here is ‘find’. — Norbert Blei


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