Chad Norman’s 16th book of poems, Learning To Settle Down, revisits his exploration of the shorter poem form, only this time he seems to be much more confident to follow a Muse, Awe, which taught him how to leave what she provided alone, not to doubt that what needed to be said, written, and captured hadn’t been accomplished. A confidence, perhaps, that only comes after many years of following such an individual, and at times, trusting in how poems find the page. This is the journey that takes place within the poet despite his outer demands.
Many of the poems were written after Norman became a gardener again, having finally, after many years of renting places, bought a house, with enough property to erect a fence and build raised plots to grow food (“crops of veggies” as he likes to call his yearly yield), a joy he hadn’t been able to partake in because of his wanderings across Canada. These poems returned to him not an old self, but someone very renewed, a man finally far away from what first stunted his ability to live a life recognizing Awe, but to know without a doubt how quickly it can come and disappear.