In these poems, T.D. Richards imaginatively and unflinchingly examines the oddness of old age- “a rutabaga/ ripening inside us/ unnoticed till winter/ when knuckles sprout knobs/ and lips turn purple, skin/the color of mud.” As the poet presents strikingly original images of old age, he also offers insights related to coming to terms with it. Like Camus’ hero, who creates his life meaning through the task of rolling a boulder uphill, the speaker in Sisyphus in the City finds value in digging up and arranging the touchstones of his life. A snatch of song, two cardinals on the feeder, a grandmother’s potbelly stove, the scent of Shalimar and Old Spice - this and more become “treasure unearthed for one last look.”
Shari Wagner, Indiana Poet Laureate, author of “The Harmonist at Nightfall”
The pure art of metaphor- “stirring of stone soup” and “rutabaga ripening inside of us”- is evident throughout. But what best demonstrates Richards’s curious eye are the everyday things, like the “earthy scent” that “issues from the unwashed hollow of our arms” and the trash man, “lifting garbage cans like prized trophies won at the Olympics.” And who would not want to be in the car when Fats Domino grabs the wheel heading home from the 1950s prom?
John Bowman, published poet and author of “This Could Be the House I Die In”
In “Sisyphus in the City,” T. D. Richards’ poems move beyond a dialectic between life’s hardships and its joys, imploring readers to discover the sweetness of life amidst the bitter, and thus we find the characters in his poems humming, dancing, drinking, and celebrating, all while living within the harsh realities of the world. The strength of Richards’ poems are in their message but also in their language. Sensory details create visceral poems that allow readers to feel the worlds and characters he creates. “…..the scent of Shalimar/ and Old Spice blend on the dance floor/ ablaze with the heat of bodies/..” By complementing language with message, Richards leaves readers feeling they’ve traversed life itself, not always easy, yet certainly worth celebrating.
Kyle D. Craig, published poet and author of “Invisible Tea.”