REVIEWS

The River White: A Confluence of Brush & Quill

“Brothers Duane and Ken Hada have produced an unusual and unusually beautiful book … The River is a calming and meditative book that gains momentum even as the river itself slows, increasingly crossed and elbowed by human structures, spreading into wetlands before joining the Great River itself”   — William Hagen (World Literature Today July 2012)

“This book is ultimately not about the river at all. The River White is a conversation between two artists – and brothers – about the most human experience of all, that of finding oneself in utter awe of the soaring, swelling, breathing, rustling silent exapnses of our natural world. … the note that sounds most frequently in the book: the sense of being haunted – by regret as well as beauty – and of reconciling sincere love of all creation with the limitations of the human spirit. … The direct, clear-eyed paintings find a distorted beauty in their poetic reflection. … The ‘ghosts’ haunting the work are not ideals; they are lonely, passionate human beings searching for the beauty they cannot find in themselves in the world without” — Joshua Grasso (Virtual Artists Collective)

“Poetry and watercolor have much in common – economy of brush and pen stroke and words, vivid imagery, and emotion and meaning beyond the surface. But less is more. …  the poems reach deep and the paintings shimmer.”- Terry Clark  (http:clarkcoffee.blogspot.com, January 29, 2012)

“To the Hadas the river has been a mother’s hand and a father’s instruction of woods and water. Together they are giving back … every page expresses their affection so clearly. The watercolors place your eyes in the bow of a river boat and lyrical poetry is your guide’s voice as you travel through the cliffs of the Ozarks to the flatlands of the delta where the Mississippi welcomes the White.” – Grant Carter (The Turnip Truck Chronicles, March 4, 2012)

 

Spare Parts

“In these piognant poems, Hada probes the natural and human worlds with equal candor, forcefulness, and literary artistry. His canvas is broad, and he paints it with rare compassion, grit, and unblinking emotional honesty. This is a book to read and return to, again and again, for the little triumphs necessary to sustain us through the tragedies of our lives.”  – Larry D. Thomas (2008 Texas Poet Laureate. Member, Texas Institute of Letters)

“For Hada, simplicity is a sophisticated aesthetic and a necessary prerequisite for beauty so powerful it resides at the edges of perception. … The poetry in Spare Parts reveals the ethic of conservation that runs deep in both the poet’s life and in the landscape presented in the book. Hada manages to sustain the power of his words ,,, by choosing the steady pace over the fevered pitch, the long haul over the short race, subtlely and silence over the obvious and verbose. These poems invite the reader to consider what might otherwise be discarded, to hold on to what is useful and to let everything else go.” – Rachel C. Jackson (Crosstimbers vol.10 no. 2, spring/summer, 2010. p. 51-52)

 

The Way of the Wind

“The volume moves gracefully from the towering ‘Witness Tree’ on his family’s land … to a famous bronze at Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum … Hada’s poems are full of surprises, never content just to tell; he is continually redefining himself in the bones and marrow of Oklahoma. For him, there can be no past and present, since the life that existed once upon a time is present today, evoked by fallen leaves and Cimarron twilight. … a tribute to his vision, and a profound meditation what it means to live in a place both as native and exile.” – Joshua Grasso (Concho River Review XXII no. 2 Fall, 2008).

“[Ken’s poetry] clears a space where readers can dwell for a time in the ‘gypsum hills of northwest Oklahoma and the Ozarks of north Arkansas.’ There are moments in The Way of the Wind when this happens almost flawlessly – as in ‘The Windmill’ (12) which ‘creaks and groans / the belts squeaking in prairie wind, / wrinkled blades twirling / in tired momentum / unbalanced.’ We can see it, but we can hear it as well – especially in the direct discourse of the short first line – no simile, just the sound an old windmill makes in prairie wind, here and now. And in ‘A Cedar Grove’ (15), ‘Musing in wild / transcendence, / buoyant bluebirds / sing me back.’ The alternation between lines of four syllables and three throughout the poem evokes something of the rhythm of a bluebird’s song.”
– Steven Schroeder (Virtual Artists Collective)

“Hada describes a 300-year-old bur oak as a ‘solitary old / man [who] has lived through storms, broken / dreams and promises gone unfulfilled’ (4-6). Like the other poems in this section, this poem at once pulls the reader into the testimony and leads to internalize the presence of the surrounding landscape” – Steven Pedersen (Journal of the American Studies Associaton of Texas, 41. November 2010, p. 48-49)

“This poetry is one of those rare offerings that brings the author and reader together in a manner that is reminiscent of two old friends sitting together remembering times past but not forgotten.” Mike Nobles, cofounder of A Gathering of Writers.