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Charles Coe reads from Purgatory Road

If you happen to be in New England, keep your eyes and ears open for Charles Coe reading from his new book of poems, Purgatory Road. With an assuring sonorous voice that makes you want to listen, there is both clarity and humor in these poems, and a feeling that you are very much at home, or better yet, that you are welcome.

The title Purgatory Road suggests a future conditional place of temporary pain, but the poems, for me anyway, are in the present whether a lost and frightened pigeon flutters on a subway platform or the poet himself imagines butt-dialing Jesus while he’s washing the dishes, a funny contemplation that ends with some understanding when he goes to help a neighbor he doesn’t even like.

The past too is also present. Parochial schooldays where nuns speak of hell become, in the distillation of a thought, the daily purgatory of life itself, “the crucible of cold fire through which we all must pass to become ourselves.” In memory ”the seed of a poem has already taken root.”

When the events of any given day are forgotten, what remains is poetry, a kind of eternity, “the way the wind tossed dry leaves on a sunny autumn afternoon.” Charles Coe reads some of these poems in the Vimeo below. Enjoy.

Check out Charles Coe’s new book, Purgatory Road:


Purgatory Road is published by Leapfrog Press. You can check them out here:


And you can check out Charles Coe below:



Charles Coe




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