Friday, December 14, 2012

Book review: Brief Light

An embarrassingly long time ago, I told my internet friend Sally Thomas that I would trade a review of her new book for a free copy of it. (Do I have to put in some kind of legal disclaimer here? She did not pay me, but I get to keep the book. Unless she doesn't like this review, in which case she can ask for it back! Just kidding, she didn't say that.) The book is called Brief Light: Sonnets and Other Small Poems and you can buy it right here.

I warned her, and I'll warn you, that I don't really know anything about poetry. I can more or less check if something scans, and I can tell you whether or not I like something, but that's about it. Nor do I really know what a proper poetry review consists of.

Disclaimers over. I really liked this book. The first poem, "Choice," literally took my breath away. There were other poems like that, to which I had an immediate emotional reaction. (These were mostly the ones about kids. Or death. Not sure what that says about me.) Others I had to read a couple times to understand. And there are also some that, to be honest, I feel like I just didn't "get". This is a problem that I always have with poetry (and certain kinds of prose too). I have trouble getting past literal meanings. But I found Brief Light to be--I don't want it to sound like I think it's shallow, because that is NOT what I'm trying to say at all. But it did seem more accessible to me than a lot of the modern poetry I've read. Very few of the poems left me with that "What the heck was that about?" feeling.

So I recommend this book, even if you aren't much of a poetry person (I tend to like the kind of poetry whose meter is so strong you can bounce up and down to its rhythm, with a very predictable rhyme scheme, and this is not that kind of poetry). It is very cheap (less than $7.00) and has some very moving poems. It's definitely a book I want to keep and come back to.

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