Written as a tribute to his grandparents, Bert and Gladys, Chad Norman’s Masstown explores life on a dairy farm a half-century ago, when a haircut in the farmhouse kitchen felt like a baptism; when a father’s knees were worn down by his 11 children.
Distilled in each poem is the necessity for upholding tradition, and a sense of great loss—both of a way of life, and of the ones who lived it. Bert and Gladys exist in their subtleties: the reflection of a match flame in Bert’s glasses; Gladys’s near-religious halving of her daily lemon.
Largely descriptive and narrative, the poems seem the salvaging of a photographic memory, often focusing on a singular task or image—so it isn’t surprising that an entire section is devoted to “portraits,” in which Norman breathes life into a moment literally captured in time, turning something inherently static into something forever alive.
by Chad Norman
$10.00, paperback, 64 pp.
Black Moss Press, November 2013