There is something of the kernel of reminiscence in Kevin Rabas’s work, a sense that for all its artfulness, the poems are the purest distillation of memory and feeling. At its heart, this collection pays homage not just to a particular feisty father, but to all fathers that we love in their peculiarities and imperfections. The writing is deft and observant, with an understated humor and warmth. At the same time, it is a celebration of “the lick and needle of fire, song,” that is, to the making of music. Through Rabas’s words, we are welcomed to an insider’s view of a drummer’s realm, where we learn of the timekeeper’s measured ticks and splintered drumsticks. — Donald Levering
The stories and pictures of Rabas’s poems make big discoveries in little things. That appreciation of the everyday makes this volume, and Rabas’s work in general, a joy to read, for it shows us as readers a deeper way to look at all aspects of life. The poem “Downtown” asserts that when you might not have a direction, “you wish you had someone to point out the stars.” Sonny Kenner’s Red Guitar is that someone, and with Rabas’ words in mind, with a little effort perhaps the stars won’t be that hard to find.”
— Marina Jaffe
Kevin Rabas’s second poetry collection, Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, explores the effects of a life structured by music, woven amid a series of failed, yet forever impacting relationships. From learning (“Jack McCann’s Own Hometown Marching Band”) to playing (“Playing for Dave”) to understanding its power (the title poem, “Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano”), music is the backdrop, the blood, and the fuel to this series of beautifully taut relationships.
— Caleb J. Ross
The poems in Kevin Rabas’s collection Bird’s Horn & Other Poems keep the back beat of human existence with their tender and steady observations. In a luminous fusion of language and music, Rabas syncopates and celebrates the jazz improvisations we call life.
— Amy Fleury