A quiet brilliance drives The Soul of Rock & Roll, a quiet that 'blasts that Chevy/into black light/sucked into dusk.' With 10-gauge steel strings, Repp solos electric in images that shred until we are heart-deep in the bodies of real people. He’s an intellectual, and he’s salt-of-the-earth—an endangered species. 'I want Lorca un-shot & singing,' he says—who else can take us from Iggy Pop to Apollo on the “ancient road home” with such soul? Repp’s voice—underrated and never overstated—bottleneck-slides the heart of night and makes us believe in the spirit of living again—it’s that good." Jan Beatty, author of The Body Wars, University of Pittsburgh Press
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This generous selection of John Repp's poetry showcases his gifts: creating a brilliant sense of immediacy from the past, his hunger for luscious observation, his wisdom about nature and community, work and home, son-hood and fatherhood 'peering into memory’s blue flame.' Repp bends sentences and stanzas until they sing, his lyricism, image-building, and eye and ear for detail composing 'one concerto, rewritten and rewritten.' Long may Repp’s music blast!" Robert Hamberger, author of A Length of Road: Finding Myself in the Footsteps of John Clare, John Murray Press/Hachette UK
John Repp's new collection captures naïve then jaded times before arriving at the wisdom long reflection brings. This book is the history of a generation. I felt it. I knew it. I remembered those times and tunes as I read. No extra words live here; a variety of stylistic choices entertain, but Repp’s voice is never lost. I give The Soul of Rock & Roll a ten—the words are great, and it’s easy to dance to." Elizabeth Kerlikowske, author of Dominant Hand, Mayapple Press
Near the middle of this wonderful book, these lines appear: 'My never-ending work/is to work to make this & everything else in our life’s work true.' The work is the poem, of course, but it is also the memory of the work John Repp and his people have done over their time in New Jersey. In America. Henry James was probably right when he wrote that 'we work in the dark.' But he was also right about some writers when he added, 'we give what we have.' John Repp has given us a great gift in this book, a gift that I, for one, will cherish." Keith Taylor, author of The Bird-while, Wayne State University Press