by Hister Grant

"Looking down, God sees Earth
Infinities distant
He wrinkles his nose
Regretting the whole thing"

With this volume of poetry coming in at only 54 pages, one might assume there’s not much weight in the 50 short poems found within, but that would be a grave mistake. These poems reveal a depth of poetic prowess and a range in subject matter that travels from reflections on a dying plant in the middle of a city to the duplicitous ways of snakes to a quartet of sensuous haikus (each entitled “For Suki”) to the poet’s amusement at a frequent flasher. Sometimes, Grant is delightfully self-aware as in “Forever”: “I am enlightened; I know I have bad Karma.” At other times, in poems like “Paradise,” this self-awareness is grittier: “In revolting apoplexies, / That’s what I want! / Spasticated on the ground forever, / Laughing stupidly, / Drowning in atrophy / Memory less, meaningless! / Crawling on my back, / In orgasmic detachment, / Amongst disgusted shoes, / I’m all alone, / And I’m eating my lips.” But at all times, he is masterful in his ability to get to the crux of his subject poetically.

Many of the works in this volume are disturbing. Some are comical, others heartbreaking, but all reflect the poet’s grip of language and vision. Grant has the knack of honing into the very essence of a thing, rendering it to his audience in imagery that is hauntingly beautiful in its simplicity and honesty. This poet pulls no punches. He pummels the reader with words and leaves a mark. His work is raw and deathly dark, yet his poems breathe with life—however bizarre that life may be. Readers who enjoy poetry that is stripped down to its essence, without superfluous flights of fancy, are sure to appreciate the brilliant brevity of Grant’s work. This book of poetry should be read and re-read, for there are layers of meaning within its masterfully written pages.

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