I was excited to read something that called itself “A Novel in Poems” because narrative arcs are what keep me reading. I am a visceral reader. My preferences lean towards work that tears my heart out. My reader’s eyes are influenced by being a long-time slam poetry event audience member. I am used to seeing visual cadence in print. I am not an academic reader.
I felt that it was important to start with the description of myself as a reader to be able to give anyone looking at this review the opportunity to say to themselves “I don’t read that way” because if you don’t, you may come to a completely different conclusion of this than I did.
First, let me acknowledge the extremely high level of technical skill with which these poems were crafted. If I were an academic reader, this would be my bread and butter. I know enough that I can be impressed with the form and the arrangements of words, syllables, stanzas, etc. The metaphor and similes were on point. No doubt there. This is a VERY well crafted collection.
There is a LOT of imagery in this collection of pieces. Almost too much for me. I found it hard to follow the story that this poetic novel was trying to tell. It was the reading equivalent of when a movie or TV show does the quick flash montage of images too fast to totally focus. I got a sense of what is being conveyed, but not a clear picture. Again, this might just be me.
Even with this, any poetry lover will find many gems to appreciate along the way. One of my favorites was this stanza:
Home, Mother says, is the shadow of an over-active quill.
Home, we sisters suspect, is our mother’s bone sculpted into walls.
The end conclusion for me is that as a set of poems, Historians of Redundant Moments very well put together and technically excellent. If you prefer a clear narrative arc from one piece to the next, this collection might be hard to read. If you love poetry, you will enjoy this book and its offerings. It’s definitely worth a read either way.
Thanks for reading!