For its imagery, lyricism and thought “Absolute Pine,” a very human poem really, is a fitting conclusion to this collection that is serious and funny, fraught with gloom and light, and good lines in memorable poems about people, places and things. A collection of poems in the distinct voice of a poet at the height of his skills.
Scully’s The Fickle Pendulum is moody, joyous and dedicated to abstraction. It is an artist’s tome, a compendium for illustrating ideas or painting religious psalms and a reader’s banquet. As the title suggests, there is no route to follow in the inside pages because, like life, it is cyclic.
It would be foolish to start this review by saying these are the most beautiful poems I have ever read, but they are beautiful. From the first infinitely delicate poem where on the eve of turning thirteen, in a revelatory Paul of Tarsus moment, Honum discovers an angel of poetry whose ancient “mottled language” she will now speak, through all the book’s poems that look closely at and identify with small creatures, including butterflies, luna moths, hornets, sparrows, spiders, and sorrows, these are beautiful poems.
The richness in Gorton’s creativity is evident in all her poems, but in the second section of the book titled “Tongue” I was fascinated by how the poet takes the reader on trips to the past with narrative poetry that contains vivid images and keeps the reader glue to the page.
Ultimately, this collection brings a great new poet to light from a country that often gets overlooked in English writing. Even more though, the variety of the work shows us that Leminiski is a poet who lived through poetry. He thought, breathed, and dreamed poetically, and the reader can delve into that life by experiencing the stages of it in this collection.
A preternatural intelligence is required to understand the complexity of beauty and to hold beauty with reverence and respect for objectivity. Pirani gives depth to these contemplations as well as to the practice of observation. The poem investigates a balance between what is and what is observed. The reflection and mergence between the viewer and the viewed arrives at the crossroad of what may quickly be lost.
For our poet, each of the women who appear in this collection are more than characters. Each one is also an encounter to be reckoned with, an archetype, someone to be understood at a deeper level. The poem concludes with the poet wondering if this “carnival life” was “…a perfect faith that this was forever..” until he and company then “…ambled across Broadway down Columbus…climbed the secret stairs to Apple and Eve,// saw the dancing girl with the welts on her thighs,/ and realized, all this was not just play.”
The Pit is vulnerable. Every character is one that you might know and put a face to. None are foreign or fantastical and in that way, friendly yet tragic in the same breath, quickly urging sympathy from the reader. Just as a pub is a collector of escapists and thrill-seekers, it is routinely a home for the broken and suffering. The manner in which Borin curates a motif of safety is endearing and compliments the beauty of The Pit.
An ordained rabbi, Pamela Wax’s poems are steeped in ethical concerns and Jewish tradition and practice. “I keep getting books about character,” “Not Moses,” “Bad Girl” and others address her sense of coming up short, failing in her duties as a sister and a daughter, as a human being. One’s responses to grief are complex and often contradictory.
The poems in this book are courageous in that they defy expectations of what some may consider “poetic material.” Yamrus forgoes lyricism by shooting straight (and sometimes being crass). He eschews punctuation and literary device. He compresses everything, as in the two-word poem “nothing / helps,” or, a poem half that length: “endure.” That’s right.