By Mackenzie Carmen
strathmore – There are few local poets in the foothills area, and yet there is so much natural beauty to inspire a writer. Jason Grist, has capitalized on this untouched market, and has written his third book of poetry, In a Universe of Flowers.
Grist is a long term resident of the foothills area and graduate of Cal State University Bakersfield. While he now resides in Exeter, the book was written while he lived in Strathmore, a place he spent most of his life. Grist even dedicated one of his poems to the small town nestled in between Lindsay and Porterville.
Grist said “Strathmore” is one of his favorite poems in the entire book. He said he wrote the poem in springtime while he lived in a rural section of Strathmore, just east of the heart of the town. The green spring foothills inspired lines such as “the flowers are mountains.”
“Just about all the poems were borrowed from the landscape. I was living in Strathmore when I wrote the book. The landscape and the imagery all came from the landscape around Strathmore,” said Grist.
All of Grist’s poetry books use in depth imagery to paint a picture of the foothill’s natural beauty. Grist said he also uses spiritual subject matter that can be found in all of his books. In fact, in the book’s forward, Grist writes that he was inspired by a “intense spiritual experience” when writing In a Universe of Flowers.
“It could be a sunrise or a sun set or a tree changing colors in the fall. I usually use nature imagery and again it’s kind of spiritual subject matter,” explained Grist of his inspiration for his poems.
Grist embraced these themes of spiritualism and nature for the poem that bears the book’s name, “In a Universe of Flowers.” The lines from the poem that Grist focused on were “And while some water / Rushed out unknown to me, / Some circulated slowly / Emptying out easy (check) / Into summer sun.”
“For me that express humility,” said Grist. “‘While some water rushed out unknown to me’ as far as the universe is concerned, I don’t understand everything, but I understand some things, and there’s just an acceptance there.”
The book is 57 pages in length and features 57 new imagery rich poems from Grist. His short single stanza writing echoes the writing for William Carlos Williams for its use of imagery and Walt Whitman for their enthusiasm for life.
Grist has written two other books of poetry. The first collection of poetry titled, “Chasing Fall Colored Leaves” was published in 2003. In 2007, Grist published his second poetry book “Genesis of Fall.” He has also published in Southern Oregon University’s OE Magazine, U.C. Berkeley’s Ruah, Small Brushes, Orpheus Magazine, The Aurorean, a poetic quarterly, The Poet’s Pen, Soul Fountain and other literally magazines.
Interested in purchasing Grist’s new book? You can find it at the Book Garden in Exeter or find it online at www.bearstatebooks.com.