This is not a comfortable book, there are poems in it such as 'Brain Disease', which take the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as subject matter, and which remain somewhat disturbing to the poet himself. And yet in poems such as 'Bestiality' and 'The Man With The Black Nuclear Handbag', madness is not without its own point of view, and its own (sometimes not so gentle) touch of humour.
There are also poems such as 'Not An Apologia for Suicide', and 'Hell's Kitchen', which attempt to resolve any tendencies toward violence and self-destruction, that the author himself might have experienced. And in doing so, to help explain some of the personal, political and spiritual aberrations of the psyche, that might be so prevalent in our society today.
"Thomas Krampf has written a powerful collection of poems in Taking Time Out. He descends into the alternate universe of madness where everything is charged and strange; he parses the logic of the suicide. Then at times he uses his outsider's clear gaze to gauge the madness of our society with flashes of dark humor."
"Taking Time Out, Poems in Remembrance of Madness gives us the mature work of a gifted poet, Thomas Krampf. It is a book which deserves to be read widely. Musically complex, the poems retain the rhythms of spoken speech even as they echo the complex and shadowy counter-rhythms of thoughts felt intensely. Reading these poems, one has a fresh understanding of the reach of compassion into the most unlikely places. The poems balance wit and ache; they can make a bold leap or a subtle turn with equal ease. They heal with insight. They are - simply put - splendid poems."
Thomas Krampf has published five books of poems, including Taking Time Out: Poems in Remembrance of Madness (Salmon Poetry, 2004), Shadow Poems (Ischua Books, 1997), Satori West (Ischua Books, 1987), and Subway Prayer and Other Poems of the Inner City (Morning Star Press, 1976). He has read his work in many colleges and universities, and on National Public Radio in New York and Buffalo. In 2001 he was awarded a teaching residency at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castelbar, Ireland, and in 2005 the noted French author, Raymond Bozier, translated his long 'Subway Prayer' poem, with excerpts published in the French literary journal, Place Aux Sens. In 2006 he participated in the 'Printemps des Poetes' ('Springtime of the Poets') literary festival in La Rochelle, France, with some of the leading poets from France and Iran. He was also one of the first U.S. poets invited to read at the Eden Mills Literary Festival, Ontario, Canada. He currently lives in Hinsdale, New York, with his wife, Francoise. They have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.