In the poems of Petroglyphs, Ostrander piles up image after image, in long and short lines, creating a cadence. Whether the poem is an epithalamium for a beloved daughter, the stark image of a suicide artist, or a climb in the Himalayas, the poet's unique voice comes through, and we see the work of a beautiful and probing mind, a generous spirit. Ostrander is a master craftsman, with patience and discipline to capture "The Word"-"which is always there, this reassembling of the self. . . a word that, ignored, appears for a moment and returns, lucid, to the circle of our reaching, the radius of our love." His poems, richly textured and resonant, are both shape and shadowshape. In the desert's shifting sands, he hears still the inland sea it has replaced, in a beach at Santa Cruz, California, the eternal forsakenness of Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach."
~~~~~Ruth. G. Iodice, Founding Editor, Blue Unicorn: A Triquarterly of Poetry ~~~~~~~~
The Welsh poet Vernon Watkins said about writing poems, "Cold craftsmanship is the best container of fire." Fred Ostrander is a poet who understands such a dedicated and diligent approach to the use of language. His poetic vision, subtle and engaging, is very individual and is powered by the natural rhythms of a confiding voice, a voice that conveys a man of deep integrity and humanity. The poems in Petroglyphs are a real breath of fresh air, intimate and universal, lyrical and intelligent. They are first-class poems that call the reader back, again and again, to wander around their word and sound landscapes. This is a collection that truly deserves a wide readership. ~~~~~
~~~~~~~Peter Thabit Jones, Editor, Seventh Quarry (Swansea, Wales)
In Petroglyphs, Fred Ostrander distills a life filled with travel and observation into a series of poems that probe the depths of meaning in language that makes the failure of words all the more poignant and meaningful. Whether describing nature or art, the attention to detail is absolute; the deference to image steeped in reverence. In poem after poem, experience and memory, image and the effects of image are examined through the lens of language to erupt into the beautiful. Here is the essential quest revealed. This is a collection of poetry one simply must read again and again.
~~~~~~James Michael Robbins, Sulphur River Literary Review ~~~~~~~
In a period when trivial poetry is not only the norm, but apparently the ideal, Ostrander's work is complex, subtle, massive, and disturbingly romantic.
~~~~~~~Jeanne McGahey, winner, Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Competition ~~~~~ ~~~~
To begin reading Fred Ostrander is to enter an alternate, intenser world where the great images rule and the tides of the universe palpably lift (and drop) us all. Ostrander is one of those poets of whom accomplished poets say, "I wish I could write like that."
-~~~~~~~John Hart, two-time winner, Commonwealth Club Medal in Californiana ~~~~~~~