Odd Bloom Seen From Space

Timothy Daniel Welch. Univ. of Iowa, $21 trade paper (92p) ISBN 978-1-60938-504-0
“On what do we prop our lives and/ what if it can’t hold,” asks Welch in his tender, mysterious debut, a winner of the 2016 Iowa Poetry Prize. The props in question may be myth and memory, the book’s base elements, which Welch uses to tell new stories about intimacy and identity. Masculinity is a particular site of revision: the book begins with the loss of virginity rendered in Herculean terms—as a labor, even a slaughter, rather than a feat of bravura. Welch’s poems are about “skinny boys/ without a sense of butchery”—those for whom “honesty is a kind of/ solitude.” Such distance leaves his characters at the fringes of history, struggling to understand their place in it: “I don’t know/ how to collect each new// perspective,” Welch writes in the title poem, which opens with an astronaut’s description of the 9/11 attacks. But this remove also bestows vision, one that often makes the mundane life events the book recounts wonderfully unfamiliar. Welch sees snowballs as “brief comets/ smoldering// at my feet” and hears “Owls and their Michael Jackson/ hooting in the trees.” His work is at once cubist and confessional, aching and wry. Welch’s point-of-view, however eccentric, is an altogether welcome one. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/08/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X