About the Book
Praise for Bathhouse Betty
The title poem is dedicated to Bette Midler, which is ambitious and potentially indicative of the subtle themes of orientation throughout the collection. It’s as if Terhune has dedicated the entire book to Midler with emphasis on that one poem. In it, he describes her voice as “that old blues voice rinsed with sand and honey.” This description is also a good indicator of his language throughout the collection, which is consistent and profound in its simplicity. You’ll find yourself remembering his poems at odd moments. Watching a female lifeguard at a swimming pool will make you think of his first poem, “1987”—about the plain drunkard girl and whether, in the end, the narrator was reflecting upon her promiscuity or her potential suicide. When you hear a blues song, you might think of Terhune’s poem “Paradise” and remember his line that reflects on a voice as “the jangle and rasp of the bruise put to lyric.” Terhune’s poems don’t necessarily punch you in the gut and leave you wondering, but they creep up on you later, whisper memories into your ear and allow you to drift away on the stories they tell.