Local poet Don Wentworth composes poems that he refers to as “brief, haiku-like pieces with a distinctly Eastern feel, yet firmly grounded in everyday life.” His first book, Past All Traps, has just been published by Six Gallery Press and it has received positive reviews in both City Paper and the September issue of Pittsburgh Magazine. Justin Hopper, in City Paper, called it “honed, elemental” work, less about “brevity than the moments it describes.” In Pittsburgh Magazine, Kris Collins also observed: “Don’t be fooled by the brevity, Past All Traps, contains poems rife with emotional and intellectual complexity.” Each article cited a number of poems; here’s one mentioned in both:
mistake after mistake
after mistake adding up
to just the right thing
Many of his poems are intended to directly engage the readers, challenging them to think about the familiar in a different way, as in the following:
the sweet magnolia
bows to all creation –
& you were saying?
In addition to his own poetry, Don is the long-time editor of the small press magazine, Lilliput Review, which concentrates on poems ten-lines or less. His daytime job is as a senior staff librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where among other duties he oversees the International Poetry collection and co-moderates the monthly poetry discussion group, 3 Poems By. Also in that capacity, Don serves as an ACLA faculty member, conducting classes on poets such as Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, and Robert Frost, as well as a general introduction to poetry and a session on the Japanese poetic form haiku.
Past All Traps is available at local Pittsburgh bookstores, amazon, and at the frequent readings that Don does out and about town, as well through the county library catalog.