End of the West

Michael Dickman, Author . Copper Canyon $15 (89p) ISBN 978-1-55659-289-8

Some form of light—sunlight, moonlight, starlight, streetlight— appears in every one of the 18 poems in Dickman’s debut. Slight and spare, the poems’ frequent recurring themes accumulate beneficially, linking all the individual poems into one, more substantial, piece. Nothing grand takes place in these poems, but the quietness of the language and the creeping, sinister subject matter (heroin addiction, abusive fathers) make this highly anticipated book captivating and very readable, “a nice description of something beautiful that doesn’t exist anymore,” as Dickman writes. Elsewhere, he grimly recalls, “No one I loved had died for almost two years // Then Amy bled out / in a bathtub.” As one half of the Dickman twins (both are actors, and the other, Matthew, also recently published his first poetry collection), Michael has received the kind of advance publicity rare for a new poet. Profiles in both Poets and Writers and the New Yorker as well as publication during National Poetry Month should ensure a larger than usual audience. And the attention is not undeserved; Dickman’s book moves with careful intensity as it confidently illuminates buried, contemporary suffering: “My little sister, tied to her trundle bed, crying, forced to eat slices of orange/ she believed were her goldfish.” (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-1-61932-085-7
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