Poems with clarity and wit

Book cover for Plain Sight by David Bergman shows a man with a flashlight finding a piece of paper in the forest at night.

Plain Sight by David Bergman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently saw David Bergman at the Baltimore CityLit festival, at a session about publishing later in life. He was in the audience, and one of the panelists unexpectedly asked him to read a poem. The one he chose, “The Man Who Was Not a Robot,” is a wonderful piece from his latest collection, Plain Sight, that prompted me to purchase the book.

This is Bergman’s third book of poetry, and his first in 25 years. He has Parkinson’s disease, and his poems are tempered and shaped by the specters of aging and disease. He is a great storyteller, writing with clarity, wit, and a very distinctive voice. Reading through these often conversational poems, even though I’d only met him once, I could almost hear him reading them.

Bergman tackles difficult topics head on with humor and grace. A series of “The Man Who…” poems forms the core of the collection, and many are outstanding, including the aforementioned poem, “The Man Who Could Not Smile,” and “The Man Who Knew Wonder.” Other standout poems include the heartbreaking “The Memory Sharer” and the beautiful closing poem, “Grace.”

Overall, this is a thought-provoking, welcoming collection. Highly recommended.