The poems in Al Ortolani's newest collection, Waving Mustard in Surrender, come from the streets of Kansas City and the farm roads of Southeast Kansas. His narratives are as much at home on asphalt as they are in bean fields. The natural world is common to the many facets of this collection. Like birds, his poems fly with striking images-as accessible as crank-pot crows, assassin herons, or starlings startled by cannon shot. There's a good deal of wind and spit, flower and piss in a poetry where tornadoes and baseball are not incongruous to a single summer evening. His characters are tough and smart. They revel in a lingering city decadence and messy small town beauty.
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About the Author
Al Ortolani was born in Huntington, New York in 1952. He was raised in Pittsburg, Kansas, attending Pittsburg State University where he received his B.S. in Education, M.A. in English and an Ed.S. in Higher Education. As a boy, he dreamed of playing second base for the New York Yankees. When the scouts failed to show, he began writing poetry. Ortolani is a career public school teacher in Kansas. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal, and the New York Quarterly. He has five books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, published by Woodley Press at Washburn University, Wren's House, published by Coal City Press in Lawrence, Kansas, Cooking Chili on the Day of the Dead from Aldrich Press in California, and most recently, WAVING MUSTARD IN SURRENDER (NYQ Books, 2014). He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place and is an editor with The Little Balkans Review. He currently lives in the Kansas City area with his wife Sherri.