Too Bright to See

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David Booth’s debut collection of poems is, to say the least, quite unexpected. These poems are mostly prose poems, but even the prose poems are busy breaking the rules one might find in the traditional study of the form. Most of the forty-five pieces in the collection fall more heavily on the prose side of prose poems than the poem side. That said, as one reads these, reminders pop up of the fact that the writer is indeed a poet, and the language is the identifier of that. In what seems very much like a short story, The Boy from Thuringia carries the reader along prosaically when a poetic reminder like, “Sebastian’s hair was standing on his head like a blonde cabbage. He pressed his eyes together as if wringing out excess daylight and opened them again,” grabs the reader and says, “Don’t forget, you are reading poetry here!” While some standard fare of romance such as Appropriate Kiss do exist in this collection, most of the poems explicate much darker topics such as found in The ABCs of Murder and Crime Scene. A lot of the poems are simply slice of life (or in this case, more like a chunk of life) vignettes. Dinner Scene is a terrific example of this. It’s all about a Yelp review, something almost anyone can relate to, and it is funny! There is a good deal of humor in this collection. Told on a Mountain gives a real insight into Booth’s mindset as a comic explains why he does comedy. (One might assume this is autobiographical.) One is reminded that comedy is best when it cuts very close to the truth and the pain but still finds a point of view that sees the humor. “I do comedy because I cheat on my taxes. I cheat on my taxes because I’m not funny enough to be audited.” His poem Gilda’s Club is heart-wrenching and a sweet tip of the hat to that great lady, and there are homages to other influences such as activist Harry Hay and poet Robinson Jeffers. Booth also plays with form in shape poems like Sunflower that blooms into its shape and Loneliness that crashes in on itself. The title poem, Too Bright to See, will take readers back to childhood and jump-start their imaginations. Perhaps saving the best for last, Low Tide paints a beautiful picture with words and tells a sweet story in one of the most structured of his poems. This is a surprising collection, yet very satisfying and shows a good deal of imagination and ability. Readers will find much to enjoy in this slim volume.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 100 pages
Publisher Simi Press
Publish Date 2021-Feb-01
ISBN 9781734114263 Buy this Book
Issue March 2021
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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