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Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor, by Ron Penoyer

Ron Penoyer is a deceptively polite and self-effacing poet.

His ambitious collection, Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor, is subtle in its exploration of contrasts, balancing between the light and dark of our natures and confronting the mystery of our destiny. His collection includes a unique, deeply felt love poem about the simple act of driving across a covered bridge, while it also embraces a poem that observes contemporary society as a “Diet of Worms.”

For thoughtful readers of poetry, Penoyer builds landscapes and vistas in which meaningful destinations may be discovered. Within the collection itself, he precedes his poem about a 1960’s launch of a Saturn V rocket with a poem describing the ancient lure of Stonehenge, while he completes the vista with an exploration of the shocking but weighty evanescence of fireflies.

Adventurous poetry readers will likely recognize Penoyer’s picaresque. He has been suspected of coaxing the Winged Victory of Samothrace into somehow taking flight in the Louvre, and he has been known to linger as an amateur sleuth on Hampstead Heath on a certain afternoon in 1819, suspicious of a bird.

Perhaps most important, and most surprising: Penoyer stands athwart history, society and language to consider and challenge his relationship with God, knowing full well as he writes that “Ink interferes with an eloquent white expanse.”

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