Review: Driving Together
Robert Tyler Sheldon
Meadow-Lark Books, pp. 84
At six I dreamt of drowning
sinking under black ocean. a giant white shark pulling me to surface air
dragging himself back to the water while
I pleaded his company; his journey was only
to stay down.”
I see only a white shark sinking
or a small domed skillet
broken brain spilling
over tiny spoon of skull.
Imagery consistently plays throughout Tyler Sheldon’s poetry to emphasize his observations and to make meaning of an idea. In his poem “Satori,” which in itself means enlightenment, the author uses the analogy of a door, and in particular the image of “a screen door swinging on one hinge.” He paints the picture of a door that has been tattered and beat up:
In the middle
of its gauzy wire there’s a hole
where maybe a cat clung one evening
. . .
Maybe a passing car
kicked up a rock.
In “Finding Yourself,” the author ends his collection with something distinct from the rest of his poems. He poses questions of what seem to be ways of finding himself in the form of colorful scenes. He still continues to intertwine images of nature from his home in the Midwest, as he does in other poems such as “Code” and “Red-Tails.” For example, “...will you be the one who dances / through wheat fields with a mason jar / building his own lamp?” and “Will you build and burn a bonfire / and sing into the night / and find animals / and wishes in smoke / or lines for poems?” He uses nature imagery to create a place in which an artist as himself may explore, becoming a part of his world and nature by dancing in the fields, building a lamp with fireflies, building a fire, singing in the company of animals, and using smoke for wishes. It is in the simple beauty of nature and living in nature that Sheldon presents the notion that a poet may discover inspiration for his work.
Tyler Robert Sheldon successfully examines life through the eyes of a poet, transporting his readers into his environment, home, and relationships. It is through his ability to reflect on observations and experiences by way of vivid images that the reader is able to gain a new perspective of life.