Courting Rejection
by B. Harlan Deemer

"But if your reality roots for the strength of the sun, reason gets stamped on by legions of boots."

In this collection, readers discover a world where love, loss, sex, and religion swirl to form a poetic hurricane. Readers also find subtle nods to Dante, Wallace Stevens, Donne, and even Moby Dick. Witty, limerick-like philosophical poems such as “01-30-85” blend both the natural and the human world. Others, like “Queer Quake and a Pee-Squat,” are playful and bawdy in their portrayal of a seemingly doomed relationship where its narrator wishes, “Way out to sea, will I be free beneath the full moon? / May this tide end its pull—soon.” Certain poems, such as “Summary: Religion and Ethics” and “The Churches,” exhibit a critique of religion and its place in culture and society. By the collection’s end, however, readers have found a safe landing amid the chaos in the poem “Unclear”: “Her fresh gift unfolds, makes thoughts tarry, / lifts life over the threshold of ordinary.”

For beginning poetry readers and rhyme aficionados, this book is a must-read. Readers who appreciate wordplay will also enjoy this volume since it often takes the works of traditional poets and twists them in high-spirited ways. Translation fans will enjoy the collection’s section in which the author provides personal translations of the poems. Unconventional and boundary-pushing at times regarding its subject matter, this body of work will also appeal to those readers seeking a new voice. The bold speaker in many of the poems will attract readers who seek a more defiant tone in poetry. Other readers will appreciate the collection’s unorthodox approach to not only poetry but also social commentary.

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