I have been a follower of Trandahl’s work for a while now and I have always admired the succinct way he captures the beauty of nature and home. His collection, Bravery, uses the peace and hope found in nature as its backbone whilst Trandahl also writes about love, family, and alludes to life in the military.
Trandahl sitting on his deck, smoking a pipe, reading or writing and listening to the sounds of home is a motif in this collection; reoccurring alongside descriptions of sunset and twilight. At times, it felt as if each piece ran into the other; bleeding watercolours which paint the natural world in vivid summer and autumn hues. Yet, at other times, pieces stood out and demonstrated the breadth of Trandahl’s poetic voice.
‘Labor Day’ illustrated the peace to be found in writing, whilst ‘Pacific Coast Highway’ alluded to a past the speaker does not wish to share any longer and highlighted the comfort which can be found in conversing with a stranger. Pieces like these were bolstered by Trandahl’s sensitivity in ‘My Daughter Taking Photographs’, about the thin thread which ties a father to his daughter, and ‘Garland of Stones’, a beautiful snapshot of a husband attempting to console his grief-stricken wife. Finally, ‘El Paso’ and ‘Baptism’ hinted at the brutal and violent life Trandahl once led, in the military, but both are gorgeously offset by the autumnal journal, ‘The Serenity of Decay’, a work which grounds the reader and transports them back to where Bravery began; at home, in nature.