Chuck Peek’s Nebraska – “Conflicting Reports” is an unusual book. Containing both poems old and new and a series of essays, the volume explores Chuck’s experience of Nebraska from his boyhood in McCook, his years at Nebraska University and later at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and his return of the native to Nebraska after years in Arizona.
The title speaks to the variety of his experiences, the difficulty of making something out of such a variety, the affections that prompted the chronicle from start to completion. The book was published for the Prairie Arts Brothers, a Kearney group sponsoring the arts and the Front Porch Poetry reading series. Readers can decide whether its 125 pages are way too long or not nearly enough to encompass Chuck’s experiences and his effort to see those experiences through a poet’s eyes.
Peek writes, “At each death, all the dead are raised.” “In Nebraska: Conflicting Reports,” the living and the dead appraise each other—Who has better cared for this land? Who can teach whom about surviving and flourishing on it? Like the wide-open spaces, these poems are both hopeful and ominous. You can’t help but befriend the landscape, fauna, and people Peek renders with admiration, but don’t let yourself get too comfortable: in the barn or on the noisy street corner, we live within “history’s long reach,” and we are responsible for a future. This poetry and prose will make you think, feel, and step outdoors to see what’s happening on the ground and in the sky. This book knows things we don’t.
Author - Chuck Peek. Published by the University of Nebraska, Office of Communications & Marketing. Printed by Morris Press, Kearney NE, 2020
* Brad Modlin, author of "Everyone at This Party Has Two Names" and "Surviving in Drought"
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