Poetry. LGBT Studies. In his poem The Crows, an achingly poignant remembrance of his dying sister, William Reichard observes that 'Silence is the secret language in our family, the long gaps / between what we can and cannot say.' In the poem that opens this new collection, he also admits to a 'learned/willful' blindness as a coping mechanism for dealing with a world where 'things change,' an urge to evasion so that 'I will never turn into the man/I don't want to become.' Silence and blindness might seem an unpromising beginning for poetry. But then Reichard responds through his masterful juxtaposition in A Trip Down Market Street of flickering silent movie images of a doomed San Francisco with his own experience of that city as a place of exhilarating possibility even in the face of the AIDS epidemic: 'I had a sense this might never end/and that was beautiful enough for me.' The hope inherent in that powerful phrase 'might never end' propels Reichard through these poems just as the two men of his title are propelled passionately toward their unattainable goal. It is the effort and not the end that matters, and here that effort takes the form of words and images that answer the silence and the darkness with the eloquent simplicity of ordinary life. Including, it must still be said, the ordinariness of gay love, expressed so perfectly in his poem Sixteen. We have all been there, just as we have all seen the ghosts of people and places that haunt these poems, remnants and reminders of a world passing and past. And still, it is beautiful enough.
William Reichard is a writer, editor, and educator. He has published seven previous volumes of poetry, including OUR DELICATE BARRICADES DOWNED (Broadstone Books, 2021), The Night Horse: New and Selected Poems (Brighthorse Books, 2018), and TWO MEN ROWING MADLY TOWARD INFINITY (Broadstone Books, 2016). Reichard is the editor of the anthology American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice (New Village Press, 2011), and he edited and revised the late Ricardo Brown's memoir, The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's: A Gay Life in the 1940's (University of Minnesota Press, 2001). He has received grants and awards from the Jerome Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.Author City: SAINT PAUL, MN USA