Poetry. The poems in Al Ortolani's newest collection, WAVING MUSTARD IN SURRENDER, come from the streets of Kansas City and the farm roads of Southeast Kansas. His narratives are as much at home on asphalt as they are in bean fields. The natural world is common to the many facets of this collection. Like birds, his poems fly with striking images—as accessible as crank-pot crows, assassin herons, or starlings startled by cannon shot. There's a good deal of wind and spit, flower and piss in a poetry where tornadoes and baseball are not incongruous to a single summer evening. His characters are tough and smart. They revel in a lingering city decadence and messy small town beauty.
Although born in Huntington, New York, Al Ortolani has spent most of his life in eastern Kansas. Growing up in the college town of Pittsburg, Kansas, he moved to the Kansas City area where he currently teaches high school English. He also taught English at Pittsburg State University as an adjunct. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Tar River Poetry, and the New York Quarterly. He has published six collections of poetry. His book, WAVING MUSTARD IN SURRENDER (NYQ Books, 2014), was short-listed for the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award from Binghamton University. As the son of a coach and Olympic athletic trainer, he spent much of his childhood under the tutelage of college-aged football and baseball players. That said, his mother read to him from Longfellow, and his father took time after a long drive to point out the birthplace of Walt Whitman.Author City: FACTORYVILLE, PA USA