Friday, June 28, 2013

Mystery Train: Mini-Review

I just mentioned in my previous review that reviewing poetry is difficult for me. It hasn't gotten any easier with David Wojahn's collection titled Mystery Train.  Wojahn's work ranges from narrative poems that reflect experiences well outside his own--showing his ability to tell stories from various points of view--to a series of imaginative snapshots from the lives of various rock 'n roll legends which combines actual events with fictional story lines.  These poetic vignettes reflect the range of human experience from comedy to tragedy, from love to despair.  An interesting and ambitious collection from a very good poet.  Three and a half stars.

A few lines that I particularly liked:

I aimlessly walked that day, and every day for six
   uneventful years. My students
find your poems "cranky and obscure." A dull-witted Brit
   has written your
unreadable life. 

* * *
                                How wrong and petty any life is.
This poem is not for you.

~from "A Fifteenth Anniversary: John Berryman (January 1987)"

     Always people say you walk 
ahead into the future, though in truth
you walk backwards towards it, and only
     the past spreads its vista before you,

     though always, my friends, it is fading.
And you try to remember what it is that you
believed in. You try very hard.
     You wait. You watch until it's gone.
~from "In Hiding"

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