Gregory J. Wolos reviews Bob Snyder’s book of poems Milky Way Accent in the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene.
“Bob Snyder, whose poems are gathered in Milky Way Accent, died twenty-five years ago. The manuscript memorializing his work has been prepared for publication by those he loved and mentored. In a preface to this volume, Snyder’s sister states that the poems “reflect love, family, West Virginia, crazy wisdom in the Buddhist tradition and countless other themes showing that in spite of (and because of) our hillbilly accents we are part of the Milky Way and the cosmos.” Snyder, though his poems spring from and reflect his West Virginian life, is not to be dismissed as a Regionalist interested only in depicting local color. Rather, his sister suggests, the poet “uses the prism of Appalachian experience” as a means of extending outward. The details of his poems are Snyder’s way of approaching the “Milky Way,” i.e., the “Universe.” Paradoxically, the more Snyder’s poems are authentically tuned to local voices and experiences that demonstrate how the Appalachian people “fit together in a fabulous backbone way,” the more they foster a Buddhist “one-ness.”