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Milldust and Roses is a beautiful tapestry, the substance of which describes an Ohio Valley working-class family from the mid-century onward. Larry Smith is an accomplished poet, teacher, and biographer. But these memoirs are not about his life as a poet, but about the metamorphosis of self and family life in the urban Midwest as he has experienced it. The book is formatted like a family album with wonderful prose snapshots illustrating the town, his growing family, his wife and himself.
Mine is a common life, yet one that can be shared. . . . This story is measured in moments of
recognition, mine and hopefully yours, through storytelling, that gift that exists to be given.... the path lies broken before us, linked only by our human trust and our shared intention to know a life. .
. . I know that I have taken many spiritual paths toward growth as a person, sat and walked in
meditation, read a thousand good books, taught my way through a thousand classes, ten thousand
faces, toward some meaning. Though my life may seem common, I must confide, I have never found
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
INSIDE THE NOISE
Yes, there were coal mines, and steel mills, and factories. All of them grinding away at the
edge of things–thin shudder of the earth that we lived with, echoing roar of river inside the hills.
It grew inside us.
It was the sound of a furnace under the floor shaking the boards at our feet. Men and
women who worked long in it dissolved to deafness, began to speak with hands. Those who lived
along its edge learned to turn away.
Birds stood on fence posts, without any necks, or flitted close to the ground.
Open any window, close any door, it was there, a slow and steady rain that fell over
everything. It was a death rattle there in our chest, and our lives were clothes hanging out on the
line without rest.
Everyone knew but no one spoke.
Posted July 7, 2002
Indeed, we should all be thankful that Smith decided long ago to put aside his hard hat and lunch pail for pen and paper. Smith is certainly a poet and writer of prose who is nearing the zenith of his Merlin like magic and power over the written word. Smith's words call out and sing to us and all we need do is listen. Few writers are able to structure so surely, confidently and precisely these 'natural word flows' and 'rhythms'. His words that poke, prod, engulf, delight and gently carry us along hand in hand with the author. The ease and quite apparent straightness of Smith's writing belies it's underlying complexities. And there is the magic.....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.