Archive for November 22, 2009

On They Speak of Fruit

I have looked forward to finding and reading more of Gary McDowell’s poetry ever since his poem “How Mosquitoes Came to Be” was featured in the first issue of Anti-.  So, when I learned that Cooper Dillon’s debut publication would be McDowell’s chapbook, They Speak of Fruit, my fingers stood ready over my Paypal account ready to order.   And when They Speak of Fruit arrived in my mailbox this week, I was not disappointed.

In the hands of McDowell, the natural earth becomes a world of imagination and magic.   Sometimes, his images are harsh.  For instance, in the opening poem, “All Stones Are Broken Stones,” the speaker states that “Last night I dreamt of swallows/flying from her mouth/their slanted wings left cuts in her throat.”  Sometimes, they are much softer, more contemplative.  For example, “Ninth Morning in a Row with Binoculars” finds a lone speaker driving along a major highway, and when a bird is knocked into the passenger seat, the perplexed persona is left  wondering, “How does one/resuscitate a bird? How does one know when/to resuscitate a bird?”   Whatever the image, whatever the story, McDowell places the human existence into our world’s natural wonders,  crafting every surreal line and detail so that we too, as readers, believe in only beautiful things no matter how grim and serious our lives seem to be.   And of course, every poem makes me wish for Gary McDowell’s first full length collection!