I can remember fondly going to the public library in Inez, Ky., as a small boy and checking out books with my mother. I also remember trips to the barber’s shop in Kermit where the fellow who cut my and my grandfather’s hair used to have a stack of comic books I would sit and devour. He often let me take some of the ones with Batman home with me. And I can remember going to Mikel’s Book Store in Williamson from my childhood on, and that’s where I bought many of my comic books, magazines and paperback novels.
Of course, reading is a major part of my life.
If I have to choose between books or other forms of entertainment, such as cable television or what have you, I choose books. I cannot even begin to imagine a life without reading and the myriad enjoyments the written word has brought to me.
I have had a lifelong love of poetry, ever since reading poems in my schoolboy days.
In high school and college I learned a lot about rhyme and verse and meter and stanza, but to me, good poetry is easy to understand and it rhymes.
A great example being some of the poems written by pulp author Robert E. Howard who used some of his poems and rhymes to open chapters of his books. One of the more memorable being “The Road of Kings” in the novel “Hour of the Dragon.” One set of verse goes like this —
“When I was a fighting man,
The Kettle Drums they beat,
The People scattered gold dust,
At my horse’s feet,
But now that I am a king,
The people hound my track,
With poison in my wine cup,
And daggers at my back.”
Not so surprisingly, the story is about an ancient king and the battles with his enemies.
In the modern word, however, such poetry is often overlooked by authors who are more of an experimental nature, which is why I enjoyed a new volume of poetry by a local author who writes of life and its struggles in a very classical way. Needless to say, when I come across a poet who puts some effort into making his or her verse rhyme in that similar, classical manner, I really enjoy it. Anyone can write poetry. But, not all of them can make it moving or enjoyable. Recently, I came across a local poet who writes some very good poetry.
Charles R. Crane II is a Logan County native with a lifelong interest in the written word and song.
Crane recently released a massive volume of his poetry titled “The Empty Room” as well as a CD under the name Chuck Crane called “The Traveling Hillbilly.”
Crane was born in Holden and is the son of the late Charles R. Crane Sr. and Mary K. Scites Crane and has two sons of his own.
Heartache and loss, the pain of life’s lessons and the solemn reflective times are the stock in trade of any poet and they are definitely on display in Crane’s rather impressive book. Crane’s volume of work is very large because he had been writing poems for decades and some of the examples in the book go back to his youth.
Some of the poems are exceptionally good. The book appears to be the result of a lifetime’s work and deep contemplation.
Needless to say, many of the pieces are of an autobiographical nature and include youthful antics and struggles as a teen and a young man; struggles with life, marriage, divorce and loss in adulthood and numerous contemplations along the way.
One of my favorite poems in the book is called “You Will Never Walk Alone.”
Those who know Mr. Crane, I am told, may recognize some of the people and places and experiences he puts to word in this volume.
The CD “The Traveling Hillbilly” features 14 songs, including “Logan Town” and a tribute to his mother in the form of “Mama’s Eyes”.
For more information about the book or CD you can contact Mr. Crane himself at S&S Auto in Mount Gay.