Review of Go (Brendan Walsh)

Poetic Storytelling

In Go Walsh has struck upon something few poets do: finding a blend of storytelling and poetry that makes it seem he is right in the room, telling things with equal parts simplicity, sincerity, and beauty, so that by book’s end I felt as if I had gained a friend.

The collection flowed, riverlike, poem to poem, all of them deeply connected by a voice alongside the way experiences shaped each section of the book. In one of my favorite sections from the poem “No Life, No Hope” he says: “How this body delicate and dead, / could be a buffalo, / banyan tree, elephant, some hope / for life as the stagnant flood waters / recede.”

Not a single poem failed to pull its weight, made all the more impressive by their unifying rhythm and pulse. These are poems from a poet self-aware enough to remember his duty as artist yet unself-conscious enough to create unsurpassable beauty in a prosey, narrativistic way that achieves more than some novels and certainly more than most poetry collections. I particularly enjoyed the effervescence of his poems written as series’ of haikus, such as the poems called “Haiku Forecast” and “Bender Haiku.”

Conclusion

Storing and releasing all kinds of humanity, both the pleasant and the difficult in properly apportioned measures, the following sums up the pathos Walsh continuously feels through these explorations of heart and hurt: “Describe yourself: broken. Describe / the world: breaking. Nothing is everything, / so this must be.” This is a rare collection whose end I hoped to delay, and whose re-beginning I cannot resist.


 

Discover more about Go and its author here.

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