Friday, January 02, 2009

Richard Leck Remembered

We were just notified today by Words Like Kudzu editor and writer Karen Lillis that Richard Leck (Feb. 17, 1933-Dec. 19, 2008) passed away on December 19th. Our prayers are with all who knew and loved Richard, and we felt it fitting to rerun our review of his debut chapbook "Memory Hair". Richard was working on his memoirs at the time of his death, and you can find a nice obituary here.

Richard Leck Memory Hair (Words Like Kudzu Press, Fall 2008)

"Feeling the narrowness of now"

At the age of 75, Richard Leck has achieved what many only wish to achieve. He has published his first collection of poems. At this stage of his life he it is clear is feeling the weight of all the years he has lived, and beginning to fear the future. One would think that this would be a time of reflection, but instead Memory Hair is filled with more of a concern over the mortality of memory. Richard focuses on the slow fade of memory, as ghost lose their shine and genuine thoughts are replaced by snapshots. It's the window slowly closing that will never be reopened. One of the poems in this collection really sum up this emotion this best is "Empty" where he talks about "Faded echoes in the walls" and how each room cries its own sadness. These verses are both touching and heartfelt and cold and empty. They fit perfectly with the image of someone looking back at life and wondering what had happened.

One surprising aspect of the collection is the abundance of verse. It had been a long time since I had read a verse poem, but I was pleased to see that the poems still retained a deep meaning while using rhyme. It is a fine debut on a fine mircopress. Words Like Kudzu is Pittsburgh press run by Karen Lillis. Karen herself is an accomplished writer, her latest novel, The Second Elizabeth, will be released by Six Gallery Press in December.

To order a copy of this chapbook please send $5 to Words Like Kudzu Press c/o Karen Lillis PO Box 8142 Squirrel Hill Station Pittsburgh, PA 15217

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