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  Poetry Review    

 

Remembering Thunder
By Andrew Glaze
NewSouth Books, 2002
Hardcover, $18.00 (95 pages)
ISBN: 1-58838-077-7

 

 
 

 

In his ninth collection of poetry Andrew Glaze further establishes himself as the proverbial prophet in the wilderness railing against the world, and in these railings he attempts to open the eyes of his audience to the world around them.  This is not a journey the reader must make on their own; rather Glaze accompanies them wholeheartedly, serving both as guide and participant.   

In “Truth Beneath Truth,” the poet looks back on his life and comes “…to account to myself or me,” realizing that the world in its “ramping, splashing, / garrulous usual way,” has left its imprint upon the man, as it does us all.  But for Glaze there is hope, just as there was when he discovered words and their power:   

          And then by luck, along the way, who discovered
                    how to birth the world
          into life out of words, and to reach among them like a clutch
          of fingerlings, seething with joy, to make a sort of dance of use. 

But this discovery is contrasted against a world that “needs our blame,” this same world that is “an ignorant and hateful place.”  While this burden is great there can be only one outcome: 

          I find I must imitate the fierce bard on myth hill,
                    who, head chopped off,
          blind, and bleeding, continued to joyfully prophesy.
                    Taking him as counselor,
          I dance and sing he words I’d sooner be dead than fail to say. 

In the title poem “Remembering Thunder,” we see not only Glaze’s gift for words in action as he remembers his father’s “thunder,” but how in the eye and words of this poet something as simple as thunder is revered :  

          “Here, now, arrive the slow squadrons,”
          he says with a fierce hiss.
          “The elephants are galumphing in
          to kneel before the grandness of the durbar.
          And here, with a howl from above,
          Come the Grand Gods, shrieking
          Apocalypse at the opera.”

The images continue to unfold as Glaze, through his father’s voice, shows us thunder: 

          “He’s a bouncer, with a waist
like a snake in high boots.
See the silver straps?
The way he rolls his shoulders
Selling us doom?”

In this collection Glaze moves with ease between seemingly simple scenes of enlightenment and the more forceful acts of prophetic vision, as in the poem “Miami Storm Coming On,” where he again begins with a powerful and fresh image: 

          plunging hard from the East
          run monstrous clouds, thundering over
          in shaggy herds like buffalo.
          They dig up flying turf plugs with their hooves
          in the maddened gray-green tidal water,
          their butting heads trail spittle threads of rain.

What becomes apparent through the experience of the poem is the lust for life that drives so many of Glazes pieces and in fact his life.  In the closing stanza Glaze gives us not only his mantra, but hope as well in a world so harsh:

          Miracles are a sort of meat grown on desire,
          We’re made of wilder things than we can admit,
so once in a while, as though by accident,
the glorious beast of the world
for an instant will let us see
how it spins, every hour, without a sign of strain,
endless heavenly wisdom out of trash.

 

William Ashley Johnson
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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