The Usefulness of Hippopotamus: A Humorous Chapbook for Trying Times

Category: Poetry
Author: Vincent J. Tomeo
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: April 26, 2023
Number of Pages: 54
ISBN-13: 978-1-63988-690-6

When the author was in college, he ran around Washington Square, like a cherub. When he came back, he noticed that all his clothing was stolen, so he had to take the New York City Subway home, with no clothes on, wrapped in the New York Times. ''No one said a word. At the time, it was unbearable. Decades later, I can now laugh.''

This episode narrated in the introduction greets the reader and prepares them for a hilarious romp with an author who understands the place of humor in the economy of human suffering. This book is a collection of poems that explore the everyday conundrum, the frustrations, and the struggle to keep going amidst the setbacks. Imagine a poet who has to read his poem to his dog because the dog, Rex, is the only ''person'' with enough interest and time to listen to a poetry reading, wiggling. The dog ''Barks growls at Gothic poetry. / Howls at a Slam.''

Yes, you will laugh. You will have a lot of fun reading these poems. And in the seemingly mundane things, you will discover a spark of laughter. Listen to: ''High Tea with My Dog Grandma'':

I served Grandma high tea.
She just ate the scones.
I spoke of The Wall.
She put her head in her paws.
I spoke of North Korea.
She rolled over.
I spoke of my mother-in-law
She got up and walked away.
I could hear her howl.
Perhaps it was the Echinacea tea?

The Usefulness of Hippopotamus: A Humorous Chapbook for Trying Times by Vincent J. Tomeo is a poetry book that is intentionally written to lift hearts and inspire laughter. The author has suffered from bladder cancer, and during that most challenging period, he penned some of the poems. They describe the beauty and joy in ordinary things. This collection will not only inspire readers but will teach them how to find humor in the mundane things that happen in their lives. It is a work of beauty and love.

Reviewed By: Kim Calderon


Date: July 13, 2023