I’m always on the lookout for great contemporary poetry—not just because of the joyful energy it brings me, but because I teach poetry classes every once in a while and as much as I love the classics, I also like to show my students just the kind of range, freedom, and poignancy afforded by contemporary verse, as well. About a year ago, I chanced upon a couple poems by Norman “Buzz” Minnick and was so blown away that I promptly ordered both of his books. Despite my penchant for being a tough, sometimes surly critic, I found myself dog-earing nearly every page in Minnick’s books. I couldn’t wait to share his work with my classes, and the students responded even more positively than I’d hoped they would. 

Over the years, I’ve been happy to see my students respond positively to many contemporary poets, but Minnick’s work seemed to strike a special chord. As a final class project, all the students were required to explicate a contemporary poem in front of the class—one we hadn’t already discussed—and despite a wide range to choose from, many students eagerly returned to Minnick’s work.

When you see these poems, I think you’ll understand why. There’s a kind of electricity here, a blend of wit, risk, accessibility, and brevity that permeates not only these five poems, but all the poems throughout Folly and To Taste the Water. So give them a read, then cruise over to his website and check out more of his work. Trust me, this guy’s for real.


Photo By: Andrea