This book of lyrical poems by Sanford Fraser is divided into three sections: Strangers, Roles, and Connections. In the first section, the narrator and/or characters in the poems are strangers isolated from and emotionally detached from others; in the second,they play various roles in the world beyond themselves, and finally in the last section, they have connections, emotional attachments to others. Fraser's mastery of the lyric form and plainspoken language makes the reader a tourist in their own right every time they pick up and read this jewel of a book.
Here, the Outsider speaks. Broken, human, just like the rest of us. But honest, oh so honest. Sanford Fraser has crafted a fine collection. Here he examines the small things and the spaces and people around them. True, perceptive, and evocative throughout. This is good work.
Sanford Fraser is terse, poignant, playful, sly, sharp tongued, urban & urbane, humane & crafty, all at the same time.
Wherever his keen eye turns, a blue haired girl crossing 14th Street, a crippled woman on a suburban lawn, a raucous motorcycle macho man, an oblivious business man in a European suit, a waitress, a warmonger, a pinup girl, a bum, he sees a poem needing to be painted with words. Often with just a few slim couplets, a score or so of perfect nouns & verbs. But beneath the hard surface of these gems is a greater beauty, an emotional interior of pain, of isolation, of memories & regrets amid the treasured
temporary connections of everyday life.
If you visit any of his Tourist poems ('My Wall,' 'In front of the waitress,' 'Love Song' are among my favorites) you will want to return again and again.
Sanford Fraser writes about existentialism the way Ernest Hemingway wrote about boxing, you can tell they lived it first. Tourist is a treatise on memory. It is not for television watchers or John Wayne fans. Like Peter, Paul and Mary used to sing, 'Where have all the flowers gone?' I say they went to Sanford Fraser. Through the reconstruction of his memories, he keeps more than flowers alive for us. In essence, he helps us claim back our own memories. A great book.