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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Review: Dark Roads by Bruce Boston (an overview)

This is the overview. The following discuss the career-retrospective collection in detail:
I have reviewed several of the long poems collected in this career retrospective (forty-one years: 1971-2012) here and here at SF Site.* Back then, "She Was There for Him the Last Time" was a favorite, and "The Last Existentialist" well pleased.

For the voters of the Rhysling award, both "In the Darkened Hours" and "Confessions of a Body Thief" won the award while "Dark Rains Here and There" and "Pavane for a Cyber-Princess" were runner-ups. "The Lesions of Genetic Sin" placed third. This collection is up for the Bram Stoker award for best poetry collection and looks to be a strong contender.

What strikes me on rereading these is the remarkable road map of Boston's career, the main routes and subsequent detours. It not only made a U-turn but also circled back.

He opens with a surrealistic look at what his generation is concerned with, and later makes a break both in viewpoint and treatment. Along this dark road, he develops the Bostonian voice and, finally, uses that voice to reexamine the world from Boston's own surrealistic stance.

M. Wayne Miller beautifully illustrates the collection. A sampler (four long poems and accompanying illustrations) can be found here.  I highly recommend it as it contains much of Boston's best work. I'll reread it again to see if I have more to add.

*Rereading the reviews was like running into a doppelganger--someone who could have been me but wasn't. The humor and length surprised me as my review methodology has changed since becoming a teacher:  more "Get in and get out." Say what needs to be said and no more, but longer reviews have their pleasures.

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