A FRESH FOOTPATH: MY NEW LIFE IN POETRY by George S. Chappell; Pell Press, Rockport, 2011; 288 pages, trade paperback, $15.
George Chappell’s “A Fresh Footpath” is a beginning and a culmination, simultaneously. It’s his first collection of poetry, assembled after a recent sojourn in the Master of Fine Arts program of Goddard College in Vermont, and also the product of seven decades of living a life of the literary mind.
The poems recount scenes and characters from the whole life, many of them pregnant with the staples of moving writing — grief, joy, philosophical pensiveness, an eye for irony. The most effective poems reflect on times past, naturally enough, from unusual angles.
“Lunch at the Graveyard,” one of several of Chappell’s poems which have appeared in the Bangor Daily News’ Uni-Verse column, was for a while the most-read poem on the website, I think for its sharp poignancy:
Here we are in daylight on the island,
spending an afternoon
seated at our picnic for two
by your grave
George Chappell of Camden had a long career as a journalist in Maine and holds a master’s degree in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to his newly minted Master of Fine Arts degree. “A Fresh Footpath” is available from Pell Press, P.O. Box 4, Rockport 04856 and at createspace.com/3674450.