By James Grabill
Review by LB Sedlacek
There’s a constant comfort to the poems in this new book from James Grabill. He examines life, essentially presenting his poems almost as a research experiment or paper but in a far more interesting way. Immediately with the first poem, “Reverberation of the Genome,” you will be drawn in. This particular poem, is divided into four parts: “The Symbiosis in Diego Rivera,” “As the Sun Soars Over,” “In Schoenberg Mind,” and “Blue Fin in the Seas of Hemingway.” The titles are such hooks, you could just stop with them but after reading them, of course, you will want to read more and deeper into the text and see what’s behind them, or what else may be going on in the poem. After this zinger of an opening, he continues forth with yet more poems seeking to figure out existence, or perhaps something else that you as the reader can decide.
Grabill peppers his manuscript with famous quotes. They set the mood and his words rise up to the occasion.
The poems in this collection almost seem cosmic – they reach for the stars, so to speak, and actually get there. The poems are mostly written in free verse or prose with some lyrical qualities to them.
Grabill is well-published with several past publications of poems as well as many poetry books published by a variety of publishers. His craft is evident here.
From the poem “Seated at the Table”:
“Around the lion-clawed table of day and night sit the first humans
and their legendary offspring. Given the number of sensibilities and
ways they encoded the world, not many can agree about what’s to be
eaten and how it must be served. Erstwhile, enclaves attempt to enslave
escutcheony legions that qualify as the other to do the dirty work.”
This poem illustrates the scope of Grabill’s poetry. He manages to show you what makes his poems tick and then take it in an unexpected direction almost as if he’s collaborating with himself. Reading this book of poems is a creative experience. His poems seem to define humanity, flawed though it may be.
The poems are compelling and completely in the moment. They toil away at showing the reader a way to understanding.
Grabill almost seems like an invincible knight, a hero poet writing verse as if his life depended on it. There’s a certain cool and wow factor to his writing. Nature, too, has its footprint all throughout this book of poems.
Poems often cover every day things, happenings, etc., but once you keep reading you will get that jolt, that reason to keep on reading to see what else is there. Each section ties together well and that helps give the book an overall cohesiveness and one that suits it well.
Grabill’s poems confront dilemmas of life. Your life, though, will burgeon rewardingly after reading his new book. It’s a must read destination, a book you should have on your nightstand for daily consumption.
~LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars,” and “The Poet Next Door.” Her first short story collection came out last year entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.” Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com You can find out more about her at www.lbsedlacek.com