To Say The Least by J.R. Solonche


The poems of To Say the Least catch the reader off-guard in playful profundity. While always mindful of the tradition of poetry masquerading as direct statement (the likes of W.C. Williams, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, and Charles Bukowski), J.R. Solonche nevertheless “makes it new,” through his masterful use of understatement, aphorism, word play, and anaphora—raising poem after insightful poem from the familiar and often overlooked “little things” of the poet’s day-to-day encounter with the world. To Say the Least is a way of “Teaching by Example,” of course; as Solonche tells Brother Wren: “Every little thing without / questioning is the purest way to sing.” —Phillip Sterling


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 116
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: December, 2019
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-69-5


These brief canny poems pierce pomposity and celebrate the often unacknowledged.
“Kindness of Another Kind” says
‘it is a sort of blindness.
It looks the other way.’
Each gem contains a home truth that can take the reader by surprise. “Sadder but Wiser” tells us
‘I’d much rather be
Happier but more foolish’
Solonche disguises profundity with a veneer of cleverness. His polished wit shines in this collection.
Joan Colby

“Solonche is productive and prolific, but that doesn’t water down his poetry… He can compress a philosophical treatise into three lines… His epigrammatic tidy poems are philosophic gems. Solonche sees humor and encapsulates it; he frames a thought in perfect verse… He’s playful and profound — the more he writes, the more he seems to know. Beneath the Solonche simplicity are significant social comments, and his goodwill reinforces the best in us.” —Grace Cavalieri



There is a hole in my shirt.
It is a small hole.
It is the size of my little finger.
It is just over my heart.
That is good.
If there has to be a hole in my shirt,
I would not want it in any other place.


J.R. SoloncheJ.R. Solonche is author of sixteen books of poetry and coauthor of one other. He lives in the Hudson Valley.