COYOTE MAGIC - 128 pages,
7 x 9, Perfect Bound
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We are all divine beings. We all matter, every one of
us. We come from unimaginable power and light, unimaginable magic. Take
a moment to watch the world unfold around you. Taste the air, listen to
the wind. It is all magic. We are all magic. Treat yourself and others
as the powerful magicians you are. Be kind magicians and remember to use
your magic wisely. It is the way of life’s spirit, the way of the
warrior, the way to Universal Peace.
James Bourey reviews Dave Boles's Coyote Magic
Coyote Magic is a collection of poems that explore our modern world
through an ancient device. In this book, Mr. Boles is a fabulist, a
storyteller, a seer, and a sage. His friend Coyote is his mentor, guide,
and spiritual advisor. And having Coyote in these roles, the author is
appropriating a character from many cultural backgrounds and indigenous
peoples, from North America to Asia to Europe, and even to Africa.
Coyote is variously described as a trickster, or as a mediator between
the Creators and humans, and other animals. Or he may appear as a
shaman, magician, or explainer. And the author adeptly uses all these
forms in lively, interesting, rhythmic, and usually instructive poems.
The poems vary in length, from thirty-plus pages to just fourteen lines.
Some poems are epic tales of creation. Others are humorous political
allegories. And still, others are quiet views of moments in nature. And
there are a couple that have a decidedly psychedelic edge.
Coyote Reads Rimbaud
we hear a discussion between the narrator and Coyote about French poet
Jean Rimbaud and his book “Illumination.” But the conversation is more
of a comic dialogue that contains a few facts and a small lesson about
accepting unusual people and incidentally, about reading poetry. Later
in the collection, we find
Coyote Views Degas.
This poem, set in a museum, moves from a very brief discussion of Degas’
art to a more in-depth story about the artist’s use of coyote-tail-hair
brushes. Whether the artist actually used such brushes is not important.
What is valuable in this poem is the skill of the poet in telling a
story with a few lines of dialogue and some odd and interesting details
that cause the reader to think about Art in a different, more
open-minded way. And another valuable part of this story is the gently
humorous telling. In fact, all the poems in this book have that same
quiet (sometimes bewildered) sense of humor as the narrator engages with
the ever-changing Coyote.
Modern politics are not immune from some biting Coyote commentary. In
Smoking with Coyote,
we learn how the sensible political system of the animal world compares
to our loud and unruly methods of selecting governance. Satire in the
tradition of Swift is wielded in broad strokes as Coyote joins the
narrator in burning some herb as they are engaged in a rather loopy
From egrets to mud, to the practice of Zen, to the big questions of the
universe, we are drawn into the world of Coyote and an eager to learn
human. Questions beget questions, and the Trickster is always ready to
throw in a diversion that shows how some lines of inquiry are often
pointless. There are twenty-six poems in this collection and each one
offers a little gentleness, a bit of humor, a small lesson, and some
intriguing stories. It is all packaged in a beautifully designed and
constructed, perfect-bound paperback. I recommend this one.
Jim Bourey is an old poet who divides his time between the northern
Adirondack Mountains and Dover, DE. His work has appeared in
Mojave River Review, Stillwater Review, Blue Nib, Paddock Review,
and other journals and anthologies. He is the author of two chapbooks of
poems. He has been an adjudicator for Delaware Poetry Out Loud and can
often be found reading aloud in dark rooms.