On a trip of discovery: Steve Saari ventures into a new genre — poetry
BEMIDJI — Although Steve Saari has been writing scripts and composing music for years, he might just have conquered another mountain — poetry.
The Bemidji man’s first collection of poems, “This Long Trip to Myself” — which range from the deeply personal to the jocular — has received five different award nominations, including the Minnesota Best Book Award, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the Eric Hoffer Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year.
“This Long Trip to Myself” was released by WritersAmuseMe in August and has captured the attention of reviewers in all the genre of publishing, including Kindle Book Review Team member Jim Bennett, which gave the book four stars.
“I am a tough reviewer. Saari’s book easily rated four stars; if you like poetry that is powerful and accessible,” Bennett wrote. “‘Again in Alice’, we have a personal experience of an old person reliving a long-ago unpleasant occurrence. This poem shows Saari’s power at its best; it seems very simple and it is all quite clear what is happening, while the poem takes you forward on several levels at once.”
In “6,740 Days in the Life of a Bookworm — A bizarre limerick for Adult Readers only” readers can evoke the youthful dreams of physically entering the world of the printed word:
“He sat with the knight’s ’round King Arthur’s table.
He strolled with Pooh while Piglet was napping.
He felt quite at ease in the writings of Shakespeare
Though in Plato he was often found napping.”
Putting himself out there is nothing new to Saari. He already opened his heart and mind in his play “Ruby Lips Above the Water,” which enjoyed two different runs in Bemidji. Saari is not afraid to address social issues of how people strive to protect the developmentally disabled adults who long to be an integral part of society and who sometimes fail despite their best efforts.
A different slant on masculinity was evident is Saari’s play, “Totally Necessary Men,” a physical comedy that has played throughout the area. The publishing house that printed his poems will soon publish his plays, including those mentioned above but also “Mere Image” and “Playing the Bill.”
But Saari has also commanded the stage in other productions, most notably those produced by his company, Saaren’s Productions, and also Bemidji Community Theater in two shows “Moon over Buffalo” and The Game’s Afoot.”
Saari has been director of several non-profit organizations since he arrived in Bemidji to take over the helm at the Headwaters School for Music and the Arts in 1999. Saari has been unafraid to fulfill his dreams of being a person who not only connects easily with his audience but also is straightforward in bringing his talent to different genres.
Saari and his partner, DeeJay Arens, have focused their recent work on film, as well, having just finished a public service commercial for public television warning against the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. They are expecting to film other public service commercials in the near future.
“This Long Trip to Myself” is in print, digital and kindle format and is available through most online bookstores through the Writers Amuse Me website and locally at Harmony Co-op or Kat’s Book Nook.