Somewhere in Ecclesiastes: Poems

Judson Mitcham, Author University of Missouri Press $14.95 (50p) ISBN 978-0-8262-0802-6
In this debut collection, Mitcham explores processes of change, particularly ``how things go wrong'' in life, everything susceptible to ``the unbelievable sadness of chance'' and its aftereffects. The thoughtful ``Notes for a Prayer in June'' addresses both the violent changes wrought by a car crash and the more subtle alterations in being that occur as we grow up. Mitcham's poems mediate between the idea of life being ``blessed only by accident'' and a desire to believe in the immortality of the soul, which would ultimately negate the tragedy of chance. The poet writes, ``What if it were true, after all, / that the body is a garment, a light cotton shirt / we will easily do without? / . . . would it alter the funerals of children?'' Ultimately, the poet can come up with no satisfying answers, wondering if ``dreams / were the origin of heaven'' and transcendence is all in our minds. Mitcham writes with considerable skill, and there is an ease about his voice that mitigates, to some extent, the futility and sadness which his poems address. Even if he can shed no new light on the conundrum of existence, his ruminations are always interesting and affecting. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Paperback - 50 pages - 978-0-8262-0803-3
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