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Taking Time Out: Poems in Remembrance of Madness / Thomas Krampf

Taking Time Out: Poems in Remembrance of Madness

By: Thomas Krampf

€12.00 €6.00
Whereas much of Thomas Krampf's earlier work had a distinctly urban flavour, this book is an attempt to deal with madness and its ramifications, both past and present. This is not a comfortable book, there are poems in it such as "Brain Disease," which take the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as subject matter, and which remain somewhat disturbing to the poet himself. And yet in poems such as "Bestiality" and "The Man With The ...
ISBN 1 903392 38 1
Pub Date Thursday, July 01, 2004
Cover Image Gilda Oliver
Page Count 104
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Whereas much of Thomas Krampf's earlier work had a distinctly urban flavour, this book is an attempt to deal with madness and its ramifications, both past and present. This is not a comfortable book, there are poems in it such as "Brain Disease," which take the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as subject matter, and which remain somewhat disturbing to the poet himself. And yet in poems such as "Bestiality" and "The Man With The Black Nuclear Handbag," madness is not without its own point of view, and its own (sometimes not so gentle) touch of humour. There are also poems such as "Not An Apologia for Suicide," and "Hell's Kitchen," which attempt to resolve any tendencies toward violence and self-destruction, that the author himself might have experienced. And in doing so, to help explain some of the personal, political and spiritual aberrations of the psyche, that might be so prevalent in our society today.

Thomas Krampf

Thomas Krampf has published five books of poems, including Poems to My Wife and Other Women (Salmon Poetry, 2007); Taking Time Out: Poems in Remembrance of Madness (Salmon Poetry, 2004); Shadow Poems (Ischua Books,1997); Satori West (Ischua Books, 1987); and, Subway Prayer and Other Poems of the Inner City (Morning Star Press, 1976). He has read his work in the colleges and universities, and on National Public Radio affiliates in New York and Buffalo. In 2001 he was awarded a teaching residency at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar, Ireland, and in 2005 the noted French author, Raymond Bozier, translated his long “Subway Prayer” poem, with excerpts published in the French literary journal, Place Aux Sens. In 2006 he participated in the “Printemps des Poetes” (Springtime of the Poets) literary festival in La Rochelle, France, with leading poets from France and Iran. He was also one of the first U.S. poets invited to read at the Eden Mills Literary Festival, Ontario, Canada. In 2011 he collaborated in a recital with the Korean composer Sun Mi Ro at Houghton College, NY. He now lives in rural southwestern New York, with his wife, Françoise. They have three daughters and grandchildren.

Ground Cover

Drawing blood
my illness intensifies itself
a hybrid in the sun

It is when left alone
to surrender in the darkness
its briars

It becomes, blossoming
above the rocks, below
them beyond

the gentlest flower
in my garden

"Thomas Krampf has written a powerful collection of poems in TAKING TIME OUT. He descends into the alternate universe of madness where everything is charged and strange; he parses the logic of the suicide. Then at times he uses his outsider's clear gaze to gauge the madness of our society with flashes of dark humor."

Marge Piercy, American poet, novelist, and essayist


"TAKING TIME OUT, POEMS IN REMEMBRANCE OF MADNESS, gives us the mature work of a gifted poet, Thomas Krampf. It is a book which deserves to be read widely. Musically complex, the poems retain the rhythms of spoken speech even as they echo the complex and shadowy counter-rhythms of thoughts felt intensely. Reading these poems, one has a fresh understanding of the reach of compassion into the most unlikely places. The poems balance wit and ache; they can make a bold leap or a subtle turn with equal ease. They heal with insight. They are - simply put - splendid poems.

Margaret Gibson, American Poet, author of The Vigil, a finalist for National Book Award


"I think you've done a great job -- the whole collection hangs very powerfully together and the extremities (of matter) are very well balanced by the control of the voice, true voices that are the directory of each poem -- from lyric beauty to the longer narrative pieces like the "Black Nuclear Handbag." The language is fine, sharp, physical, thoroughly absorbing. A testament to survival."

Eamon Grennan, Irish Poet, Professor of English at Vassar College, NY


"That's a very powerful book you've written. You are strong to put it into print. I'm awfully glad to know you."

Diane Raines Ward, Journalist, author of Water Wars: Drought, Flood, Folly and the Politics of Thirst


"People who have schizophrenia experience the world differently. Their world is expanded by seeing it in such a way that they can never forget either the beauty or the horror of what they have seen. This may lead them to develop the kind of software that has become world famous, to develop new ways of analyzing the gene sequences or to commit horrible totally unexplainable acts of terror. But it is almost always very difficult to describe what that world is like unless you are an Aldous Huxley or a poet like Thomas Krampf."

Abram Hoffer, MD PhD FRCP(C)


"Krampf writes with humor, wit and sacrifice. He sacrifices his own madness to the public and lets the public reader come to him as an accepting person or not. He finds a place for all and forgives any who can't find it in their hearts to forgive. There are some very beautiful poems in this book, such as "The Violin," "Mongolia," and many of the shorter poems throughout the book. But as I said before, he has wit and humor and self-sacrificial attributes and these all work out in broad and inclusive ways in each poem. Not many people, let alone poets, want to remember madness. But Krampf's book of poetry is a remembrance of madness which is an indispensable help to those who are ill, those working with the ill, or those who just like good poetry."

Millie Mae Wicklund, American Poet, author of The Marisol Poems; The Hallmark Piece or The Suicide Book


"Taking Time Out, Thomas Krampf's most recent book, is subtitled "Poems in Remembrance of Madness," a gathering of experiences from the past, mismatched and askew, but clear and in focus. An example is the wonderfully understated poem, "The Mosquito":

When God kicked Lucifer out of Heaven,
he fell, splattering our windshield.

And later in the dark, when she thanked me for cleaning it.
And asked whose blood I thought it was.

I tried to tell her it was a mosquito's.

Thomas Krampf is a poet of tremendous courage and discovery, of great clarity and integrity. He takes time out in order to take the world in. Madness is part of the foundation of his understanding, of his expansiveness and humanity. He insists that life be accounted for, including the life of his brown hat, the human pyramid that topples, the snowplow, Judas, the poet's bestiality, his schizophrenia, and the man with the black nuclear handbag. His madness is the underpinning of the reader's redemption for, like all of us, he is mad and not mad. A bifurcated poet, he is not alone. He has given himself away. He belongs to everyone.

Taking Time Out. Not taking time off, but out. The expression suggests an unidentified game. The poems are as playful and inventive as they are existential and brooding. The title poem, also the first poem, is about orange trees caught in a late summer storm, "full ready to crash to the ground." The oranges crash, but their life cycle continues. The poet knows about jumping and crashing; he knows pain. Speaking to a power beyond, he asks: "In the ground, the black fruit taking seed?" "Yes" is the unspoken answer, for we are trapped in the ground of our being.

Suicide can seem the only way "to take time out," ending our suffering forever. In an "Elegy for Suicides" the poet's shadow "listens in an act of grief to its/ own voice inside itself." Thomas Krampf's dark questions illuminate our path. His diction is spare, the weight he carries made elegant.

Taking Time Out was published by Salmon Poetry, an international publisher situated in Ireland. In this sense the book has already won a prize. If the judges of poetry read his poems carefully, this new book will win another prize, perhaps more than one. The poems are luminous and bountiful. They deserve a wide and appreciative audience."

David McKain, Poet, author of the memoir Spellbound: Growing Up In God's Country

Other Titles from Thomas Krampf

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