X and Other Poems From A to Z
by Worth Bateman
Trafford Publishing

"It is our authentic spirit, what is most true about each of us, that never really goes away for good."

A decade in the making, Bateman's alphabetized poetry compilation is comprehensive and presents elegantly written commentary on myriad topics ranging from politics and history to death and the afterlife. While the author often employs free verse and narrative, each poem reveals a story or asks a probing question that will force the audience to think deeply.

Regardless of the topic, Bateman's poetry possesses unique, unparalleled energy. For instance, "Blacksnake" uses a subtle, intimate library scene to depict sexual energy. Similarly, the powerful visual of "Dust we are and to dust we shall return," in "Cinque Terra," allows the reader to juxtapose the beauty of life and the gloom of death.

Interestingly, Bateman alludes to numerous literary figures and literary moments to give each poem perspective. From Percy Shelly's drowning in "Cinque Terra," and the betrayal of Judas in "Judas Redux" to Rosa Parks in "Question," and Robert Frost's free will in "Choices," Bateman's breadth of knowledge is impeccable and impressive.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the author’s poetry is his penchant for metaphors. In "Caesar's Wish," he compares sudden death to a pop quiz. Bateman's "Late" connects the concept of being late to running out of time, and ultimately death. Whether he’s expressing his views on President Obama or karma and nirvana, every poem has a strong, thought provoking message. Other poems that will undoubtedly garner the audience's attention include, but are not limited to "Earth," "Hard Sell," "Dog Bite" and "Identity."

Ultimately, X is a literary gem that combines the author’s spirited language with a multitude of historical, existential, and current topics. Readers of all tastes will find this compilation enjoyable and enriching, a sure fire must read.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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