RHP has been in business—if you can call this business—since 2004 and, in that time, we have published a lot of Howie Good’s work. In fact, I am writing this foreword because this online chapbook is the 10th collection by Howie published by RHP, either online or in print. So close has Howie’s relationship been to RHP, lots of people think he is one of our editors. (Although he has guest-edited a number of special issues, he’s not an RHP editor.)
I can’t pretend to be objective about Howie on any level. We are friends and collaborators. Putting that aside, I love Howie’s work and I would shortlist him among my favorite poets. Period.
Howie first appeared in RHP in Issue #8. This is one of the two poems. To this day, I love this damn thing.
Threatened Birds Nesting
I hear a noise outside,
as if it were raining
weeping bullet holes
and the footsteps
of missing children,
and when I look out,
And, of course, Howie Good is ridiculously prolific. I am not kidding at all when I wonder if any poet in North America is published as widely as Howie. He and I have had a sort of an “issue” about that. I’ve suggested to Howie more than once that he might be actually publishing too much work. It’s not that I think the quality of his work suffers because of the volume. I don’t. It’s just…ok, I don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m so far on the other end of the continuum (I’m NOT prolific) that I’m just baffled and jealous of the amount of wonderful work the man can produce.
It’s not feel-good poetry, Lord knows. Bad things happen in Howie’s poems as surely as bad things happen in the world. Which reminds me of something I’ve said more than once about Cormac McCarthy. Cormac McCarthy’s work is so bleak and hopeless that we could consider No County for Old Men a kind of light comedy, set against the body of his work. But, so gorgeous is the language, that even when he writes about such hopelessness—which is most of the time—the language has a way of delivering the reader from despair.
I have no idea if that’s really true but it makes sense to me right now.
So, here’s Howie’s latest with us. It came to me with a title, but I quickly suggested the title “Universal Themes in Literature,” from one of the pieces in this collection of prose poems by the only Howie Good there is or ever will be.