Subtle Thieves

Subtle Thieves
ISBN 978-1-931247-99-3 $15

(available only paperback)

About Ron McFarland

Ron McFarland Ron McFarland was born in Ohio, grew up in Florida, taught for a couple of years in Texas and Illinois, and in 1970 came to Idaho, where, in 1984, he was named the state’s first Writer-in-Residence. He teaches a variety of courses at the University of Idaho, including Hemingway seminars. In addition to five collections of poetry, the most recent of which is his new and selected poems, Stranger in Town (Confluence Press, 2000), his books include a scholarly study of the villanelle, poetry and critical anthologies, and critical studies on various writers, including David Wagoner and James Welch. The Idaho State University Press will publish his fiction and nonfiction from Idaho, Catching First Light, in 2001. He is faculty advisor for UI Soccer Club and an avid, though sometime inept, fly fisherman, bird hunter and fantasy footballer. His wife, Elsie teaches English as a Second Language at UI. They have three grown children (Kim, Jenny, and Jon, all of them splendid in various ways.

Pecan Grove Press

The Hemingway Poems

The Hemingway Poems
Ron McFarland

ISBN: 1-877603-74-0 $7

 

"Like the drunken, half-pagan revelers of Pamplona leaping to the drum, Ron McFarland's poems take the mythic figure of Ernest Hemingway as an image to dance around. Bursting with poetic licentiousness and mordant wit, they use details garnered from Hemingway's astonishing life and work to explore the central paradox of art-the transfiguration of ordinary, unlovely reality into extraordinary, inspirational beauty. The poems take the doubleness of Hemingway-his simultaneous status in our culture as an icon of swaggering boorishness and of amazing grace” as the doubleness of art, and ask us to contemplate the mystery of how one might explain the other. A bit reminiscent of Tom Stoppard's Shakespeare in Love, The Hemingway Poems will delight connoisseurs of poetry and Hemingway aficionados alike.”

—Susan Beegel, Editor, The Hemingway Review

“Ron McFarland is a Hemingway scholar and Idaho fisherman. Despite these handicaps, I know of no poet better armed to hunt the bravado and pathos of Papa in verse. McFarland counters a justifiably huge admiration for his subject with a healthy, necessary irreverence. He is a poet-fool, fine and nimble, warbling in the forest of a dark god still refusing to be silenced or torn asunder. Read this chapbook.

—Gaylord Brewer, Willamette Poetry Prize Winner, 2000

From The Hemingway Poems:

Hemingway in Africa: The Untold Story

During his first trip to the Serengeti
Hemingway killed more than thirty
wild animals, including three lions,
and one uncelebrated parakeet
belonging to the only woman he ever met
but never wrote or talked about.
She must have betrayed him
and one sultry afternoon,
buoyed on Beefeater's,
he popped open the wicker cage
and watched the bird's powder blue flight
to the lower limb of a camphor tree.
He grinned, but not maliciously, knowing
she would not speak to him again.
She must have been beautiful,
the best of the lot, perhaps
more gorgeous than The Kraut herself
to force him to lift up
his elephant gun, his short, ugly,
shockingly big-bored .505 Gibbs,
straight out of the pages of "The Short,
Happy Life of Francis Macomber,"
and blow that parakeet to smithereens.

From Subtle Thieves

An Invitation to the Dance

My Sunday morning cereal dances with sliced bananas
and the New England Patriots are about to blast
the Washington Redskins, and suddenly
Linda waltzes into the room
straight from that debutante ball
at the Waldorf Astoria, nineteen sixty-four,
smiling broadly and reminding me
how to invert my fork tines down on the plate
after I’ve finished my filet mignon.

Because I’m the kind of guy who always takes
advice to heart until I forget it,
because I take everyone seriously
in spurts, I thank her heartily
and three months later, in the soft
sands of Cocoa Beach, where turtles
burrow at night to lay their endangered eggs,
I break our engagement.

Somehow, you know, the way the mind works,
anticipation of the big game,
the way the morning light
plays on those sliced bananas,
Linda stands right there in the kitchen reminding me
the polite thing to do would be
to ask her mother to dance the slow foxtrot.

 

 

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