Al Ortolani’s most recent collection of poems, THE TACO BOAT, focuses not just on the people of the American Midwest, but on the connection to the humor and pragmatism of working men and women. His poems are vignettes from the fields of Kansas, the hills of the Ozarks, and the streets of Kansas City. They are about good dogs and crazy cats. His people are family and strangers alike. Both are seen with an empathetic eye. They share an attachment to the joys and exasperations of being human, struggling to understand, to thrive. The poems in The Taco Boat step back from the day to day with an acceptance of the life its characters have been tossed into. The images are frequently taken from the natural world, but just as often are from the mechanics garage, the fast-food restaurant, the baseball diamond, the assisted living cafeteria. The poems in The Taco Boat are about the relationships people build, dismantle, and build again.
“What creates an authentic life? The Taco Boat, poet Al Ortolani's latest and perhaps most intriguing book, celebrates the magic in everyday living, mingling family stories with the poet's hard-won savvy as to how life really is. Be it a Glock-totting grandma, where to keep your eyes at a urinal, or dealing with the indignities of old age, these poems caress both the timely and the universal, riffing on the quotidian tasks of daily life while diving into the secrets of the soul and even the cosmos.” —Alexis Rhone Fancher, author of EROTIC: New & Selected (NYQ Books, 2022)
“Reading Al Ortolani's The Taco Boat was like eating a taco overflowing with surprising but spicy ingredients. So, make sure you go to your local IGA and stock up on your favorite snack food and some chicken nuggets before you read. Park your Oldsmobile in the garage and pour yourself a cup of coffee to get ready for this joy ride through life in Middle America. You'll find Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in High Noon, oil changes and battery repairs, painted turtles, fly tying, and so much more. Settle back in your lounger and put your feet up on your favorite stool because you will want to stay for a while.” —Jimmy Pappas, winner of the Rattle chapbook prize for Falling off the Empire State Building
Al Ortolani's poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and Tar River Poetry. Ghost Sign, a collaborative work, released in 2017 from Spartan Press, was designated a Kansas Notable Book. His other books include ON THE CHICOPEE SPUR, PAPER BIRDS DON'T FLY, and WAVING MUSTARD IN SURRENDER, all from NYQ Books. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka and directs a memoir writing project for Vietnam veterans across Kansas in association with the Library of Congress and the Kansas Humanities Council. He has recently retired after 43 years of teaching. He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife Sherri.Author City: LENEXA, KS USA