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Counting the Words by Howard Dion

four stars

A collection of visceral poetry by Howard Dion that reads as stream of consciousness prose, Counting the Words is a memorable piece that offers a lot to ponder. The poet introduces readers to his work with a preface that explains how he writes often in the mornings, putting whatever comes to his mind on the page. He explains where the subject matter comes from, putting emphasis on the enjoyment he finds from creating pieces that have the same number of words in each stanza. Thus, the poems in this book are nearly all identical in their form, although some are a bit longer than others. Whether it is a piece about the act of writing poetry like the opening poem, This Year I’m a Cloud, contemplating the struggles of the average bird in My Neighborhood Birds, or dealing with colder temperatures in Adjust to Wintertime, Dion offers entertaining and oftentimes humorous anecdotes about every day life. Readers will almost feel as if they get to know the poet due to the honest and forthcoming nature of his poetry.

There are a number of poems included in this collection, offering something for nearly every type of poetry fan. Since the main purpose of the book is to show of the prose poetry that Dion so enjoys crafting, it is obvious from the start that he won’t be playing around with form. Since the topics covered within do range all over the place, it allows the reader to stay interested in the poems shared here. The poet has a keen eye for observation, as a great number of his pieces are recounting things he witnessed in real life. Yet on the flipside, there are also pieces that are complete fabrications, where he has used his imagination to construct a lyrical piece. This is an enjoyable collection that clearly displays the passion Dion has for writing.