Inside a Turtle Shell - poems by Robert Savino
96 pages, 6 x 9
Cover and bio photo by Sabrina Savino
Text is printed with soy-based non-petroleum ink on 100% recycled and FSC
(Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper which is processed chlorine free.
Front and back covers are printed on FSC certified paper.
to purchase this book
Inside a Turtle Shell has been selected by Geraldine Green as one of her three favorite poetry books of 2009.
Geraldine Green has performed widely in the UK and US, as well as Greece and Italy. She teaches at the University of Cumbria; organises poetry readings; is an Associate Editor of online magazine Poetrybay, and Associate Editor (UK) for Poetryvlog. Geraldine has two collections, The Skin and Passio, (Flarestack Publications).
About the Author
Robert Savino is a native Long Island poet and the Suffolk County Poet Laureate 2015-2017; the County Legislature approved the resolution on May 5th, to be effective June 1st.
His poems have been published widely, in print, from the Long Island Quarterly to The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, as well as in The Light of City and Sea: an Anthology of Suffolk County Poetry 2006 (Street Press); Performance Poets Literary Review, Volumes 11 and 12; primal sanities! a Tribute to Walt Whitman Anthology, 2007 (Allbook Books) and Long Island Sounds: 2008 (The North Sea Poetry Scene); and online in PoetrySuperHighway, rogues scholar and About Poetry.
Robert was a long-standing board member of Island Poets. He currently resides in West Islip, New York.
Oberon Poetry Prize (2008).
Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society’s 15th Annual Poetry Competition (2005).
fireballs of an illuminated scarecrow Good Japan Press, 2008.
Inside a Turtle Shell is Robert’s first full-length book.
Cover and author photo by Sabrina Savino.
You can read more of Robert’s poetry on:
or contact him at: dynsus(a)aol.com
Turtle Island Series
Inside a Turtle Shell
In an underground burial ceremony,
the turtle hibernates in utter solitude,
beneath elements of age-encrusted
rock and camouflage blanket of color.
Some think it likes to live a life of laziness.
Some think it can’t stand the light of day.
Some think it fears tribal predators.
On the first warm day, a frog, the rainmaker
of myth, comes out from under the mire
of water, in tune, to celebrate erotic pleasure,
awaken the turtle from winter dreams.
The turtle rises, carapace curved between
the heavens and its underbelly, and transports
the world, a foot in every corner. Ear-marked
the wisest of all creatures, by the Iroquois,
it lumbers through the wilderness, eating
the scenery, absorbing everything in field
of view, alone, weary for sanctuary.
Approach the turtle and it retreats,
keeping everything inside.
Gently I elevate the turtle to my ear and hear
myself breathing, keeping it all inside.
I imagine its shell, moments after journey’s
end, a rattle for a Shawnee shaman.
(More poems follow the review)
Native Americans mythologize how Earth ‘grew’ on the back of a turtle. "Gently I elevate the turtle to my ear and hear/ myself breathing, keeping it all inside," writes Robert Savino in his book, Inside a Turtle Shell. It is the second of publisher Mankh’s (Walter E. Harris, III) Allbook Books’ "Turtle Island Series," dedicated "to raise awareness of and help protect Turtle Island aka Mother Earth and all those along for the ride." Mr. Savino takes a diversity of subjects and concerns aboard for an interest-alerting ride in his carapace of a book: "Rocking crowded ships at sea, / steaming from Naples and Abruzzi/ To Ellis Island and the New World," Long Island where "warming winds/ and rising tides collaborate with the eye" and the Lady Blue Morpho butterfly, "a beautiful collage of cerulean,/ peacock and ultramarine; angel-winged,/ fluttering a bit flirtatiously. "Mr. Savino’s book is language-rich like this stanza from October’s Opal, (the title referring to the full moon), a remarkable progression of the seasons: "Ah winter, when blankets of bliss/ Cover-spoon-fit bodies,/ Flickering sparks to flames . . ./ Until love of spring gardens/ Becomes the rapture of summer bloom." Amazing--all the seasons in a turtle’ of a stanza. His skill with the language shows in his converting a winter cliché, "blanket" (as commonly used with snow), into a nice piece of alliterative language: "blankets of bliss." Be impressed with the language he provides us throughout the collection. In "Fantasy Camp" he gives us an exciting baseball game: "The joy of coming off the bench, first at bat,/ with the power of a line drive going deep/ into the lap of a screaming fan, clearing/ the bases . . . score-score-score." With Inside a Turtle Shell Mr. Savino scores hugely using the American poetic language.
- Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr.
Nassau County, New York
He wants to know more about me,
beyond the employment history on the resume
but I tell him I can’t tell him much.
It’s recommended I don’t divulge that information
to protect you from discriminating against me
which would make us a prejudiced society.
However, in an effort of reasonable disclosure,
I will tell you this . . .
I was born in the year Babe Ruth died,
when Citation won the Triple Crown,
when the State of Israel was created
and New York’s Idlewild Airport opened.
A gallon of gas was sixteen cents.
A gallon of milk was eighty-seven cents;
and Dad could buy a house for seven grand.
I served as an altar boy when Sputnik was launched,
though blessed, drank wine inferior to what grandfather made
with his hands and feet in Lama Dei Peligni, a mountain town
where macaroni and meatballs are still a Sunday custom.
I served our country when Sgt. Pepper debuted
and Ho Chi Minh refused to stop infiltration.
I looked into the reflection of his startled eyes,
pinstripes gone and I’m sitting in my birthday suit.
Scales are running up and down my back, my nose
smoking, exhaling flames and tail oscillating.
He praises my qualifications, promises to contact me
in two weeks; and I wait in a dust collection of resumes.
The Inner Road Home
Cairo, New York,
red morning light,
the last days of vacation
and still in search of peace.
I followed signs
to the Mahayana Temple,
across an iron trestle bridge,
traveling a terrain of dirt
climbing uphill to the summit.
Barely nothing moved.
A priest in mustard silk
in an incense wind
invites me inside,
at the altar of Bodhisattva,
sharing warm water
too weak to darken to tea.
He screens the sun with shade
and my spirit surrenders,
opening doorways to dreams,
living long the short days.
* * * * *
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Copyright © 2009-2017 Robert Savino
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