“Photo Essay” is a nice piece in the middle. The middle stanza is the best. Read that. This is a poetry collection that sounds a lot like journalism broken up into stanzas. “Down the hall trials without media occur/12 political trespassers rate TV attention/2 police officers accused of rape barely rate the back pages of the papers.” We are supposed to feel something, but what exactly? It’s self-evident, and Burch should be commended for being an emotionalist — sensitive and in touch with reality. But the poetry itself is harnessed on the objective relationship, or lack of relationship he has with these events. However, the events aren’t drawn out enough, nor are we given any construction that tears away from the established medium known as journalism and not known as poetry. I was confused; I mean “Los Alamos” is a nice short poem that ends with “splinters of icons await melting.” That’s a good one. But is it always cold in the shadows of concrete even if the air is oven warm? I think Burch has some great ideas, but too often they are politically internal, a diet subjectivity that can’t get past initial concepts. (Nathaniel G. Moore)
poetry, $3, Brian Burch, St. Brigit’s Press, 20 Spruce St., Toronto ON, M5A 2H7, [email protected]
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