Learning From Old Masters: Poems
Learning from Old Masters, Jane Elkington Wohl’s third published collection of poems, is a box of treasures. This poet has learned from great teachers how to be a creative artist. Their creations have inspired her own art, and she honors their example in poems that are beautifully crafted. Her work pays homage to graphic artists since the dawn of human culture, from the renaissance, and on up to the moderns. She honors her “teachers,” such as the early cave painters, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, and even Andy Warhol. In the arts of sculpture, music, and literature, she invokes Bernini, Mozart, and Faulkner, among others. We’re in good company reading her poems. Wohl vividly describe landscapes from all over—Wyoming, Uganda, Cape Cod, Afghanistan, Vermont, and elsewhere. She shows these landscapes in all seasons, in all kinds of weather. She’s especially deft at capturing the quality of light. Her poems contain great reverence and awe bordering on mysticism. She celebrates Christian ritual, history, and holy days: Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, the Nativity, Easter, et al. Many of her poems are driven by conscience and politics: she decries the shame of war, focusing especially war in the Middle East, with compassion for the victims of collateral damage. As for Jane Wohl’s poetic craft, she has a special talent for sonnets. Some of these sonnets are a bit flexible with iambs and rhymes, but the stretches only strengthen the poems. Her fondness for echoed words and repeated lines (with variations) make her poems a pleasure to read, to reread, and to read aloud.
Author: Jane Elkington Wohl is an English instructor at Sheridan College and a Creative Writing instructor for the Goddard College M.F.A. in Writing Program. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and quarterlies, and she is the author of two previous poetry collections: Beasts in Snow (winner of a Willa Award from Women Writing the West),published by High Plains Press; and Triage, published by Fithian Press. She lives and writes in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Publisher: Daniel and Daniels Publishers, 2016