Usher, M.D. & Motley, T. – Poem



So there I was, reading the introduction for this book, where M.D. (I’m assuming he wrote the intro; it’s unsigned) talks about how this book is sui generis, how there’s never been anything quite like it produced. And, unlike my usual habits, I even read the back of the book first, which also made similarly bold claims. Well, I’m a crusty old reviewer who’s seen it all! I dare this book to impress me, much less make good on such a lofty claim! Well… yeah, they were right. Completely, utterly right. Any long time reader of this website will know that I often turn my nose up at “illustrated poems,” and poetry in general just isn’t my thing. So when this book was described as a “pastiche introduction to the conventions of poetry,” that it would yield “new rhythms and rhymes and give the poetry of the verbatim original a new dimension,” well, you could probably see my skepticism from space. But Tom (sorry if I outed him and he’s officially going by “T.” now) illustrated it, and he’s always solid, so what the heck, I’d give it a shot. And honestly, it completely blew me away. Maybe one other way to describe this is as a medley of lines from various poems, all expertly mashed together and made into something entirely new with T. Motley’s images. It’s rare for me to go back through a book right after I read it, but I did that here, flipping through pages with a general “how did they DO that” bemusement for the juxtaposition of the words and images. Understand also that some words became images, or maybe it’s the reverse, and that level of ingenuity delighted me. There was also an extensive listing of the various poets included in the back, with biographies that were actually fun and witty, often including some of their lesser known poems with that information. I’m always happy to be proven wrong, and I was wrong to be skeptical here. This book is a delight, and if you have any interest at all in poetry it’s essential reading. If you’re like me and don’t have much of an interest in poetry, give it a shot anyway! You may come away from it with a new appreciation for poetry, or at the very least what can happen when two people who clearly love the genre put their heads together and come up with something completely new. $20

Posted on July 8, 2022, in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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