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.
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