Northland poet Barton Sutter joins us this morning to read from his newest work, and talk about poetry: "language," he says, "that would like to be music."
A Nice Little Tavern in the Woods for Jack Hickerson You talk aboutYour ethnic animosity,There was a guy—This was when I was a kid—Was a Finnish guyHad a nice little tavernBack here in the woods—Just off the curve,Right back in here—And he was a Finn,A Finnish guy,And he was death on Russians. You go into his bar—Nice little bar,Log cabin place—And order a vodka,He’d throw you out. Beyond belief, I know,But that’s the truth, that’s it:You go into his bar
Wearing anything red,He’d throw you out:“Out! Get out!” he’d shout.“No Russians allowed!Goddamn Commie bastards!” We laugh about it now,But I don’t know, butMaybe he’d lived in Karelia,Maybe they took his family’s land.Maybe they killed his cousins.World War II, you know. That Finnish guy.“Out! Get out!” Lots of innocent folks were surprised.Remember how they used to wear redInstead of orange In deer season? His business didn’t do too wellIn deer season back then. ~ Barton Sutter
Barton Sutter's new collection of poetry, Nordic Accordion: Poems in a Scandinavian Mood is published by Nodin Press.