Friday, April 10, 2015

Poem du Jour: "Old Fashioned Spaceman"

From Leonard Nimoy's poetry collection Warmed by Love,
published by Blue Mountain Press in 1983.
Apologies for slacking, but here we are already ten days into National Poetry Month 2015 and I have yet to post anything. Fortunately, this error is easily rectified by digging deep into my book shelf for the preceding poem from a collection by recently departed actor-director-poet Leonard Nimoy.

"Old Fashioned Spaceman" is fairly representative of the collection as a whole: Nimoy's style is free form, devoid of traditional  punctuation, with occasional rhyme, and frequently self-referential. There are few writer's who can use their own careers, especially an iconic character initially brought to life on a television screen, as a means of providing cultural allusion ("logic"). As we know, though, Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy was not your normal cat.

The typography and publishing elements in this collection (gold hues, New Times-Roman font, bright, chalky strokes of color) strongly suggest the Vintage Hallmark poetry editions sold at the greeting card shops of my youth. These volumes, and my weekend evenings watching Star Trek, represent the breadth and depth of my youthful poetic experience. The warm traditional presentation (the very pleasant and joyful headshot of Mr. Nimoy on the cover for example) occasionally comes into contrast with the cold (logical?) tone established in the lines of poetry. One could interpret this contradiction and  of publishing style and content to reinforce the conflict Nimoy himself once felt about his association with the character.

My hard cover of Warmed By Love is a gift from many star-dates ago, so I am unsure whether it is still in print. If you do happen across it, I recommend picking it up as it is very readable, and worthy of some consideration beyond the kitsch value. Of course my own appreciation of Mr. Nimoy's poetry may be because I, too, often feel like an "old fashioned spaceman."

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