Steven's Reviews > Great Topics of the World: Essays

Great Topics of the World by Albert Goldbarth
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Mar 08, 2008

it was amazing
Read in March, 2008

If you've ever read any of Mr. Goldbarth's poetry, you know he possesses a quirky diction and an erudite vocabulary, but the true magic of his writing is how he takes those two qualities and makes accessible, rhythmic lines that are a joy to read and re-read. I was pleased to find this magic in this book of linked essays, which brilliantly mine pop culture effluvia, from the fleas the painter Vermeer had to wrestle with to George Herriman's comics to Buck Rogers and back, to make us look at the world around us with wonder and awe. His ability to take seemingly disparate ideas and explore them until their parallels are evident proves page after page the links we don't often see in humanity. But most important, these essays urge us to stay in the present, "to be attentive, to the smallest rising moon above a cuticle, to the lilliput taj mahal of blue at the center of any red flame, to the slimmest syllable love or politics utters," (27), because, Goldbarth convincingly pleas, this is the only way to remind ourselves we're alive and well and connected in this sometimes crazy and lonely world.
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