Nathan Burgoine's Reviews > Circumference

Circumference by Mark Ward
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it was amazing
bookshelves: glbt

I'm always nervous to review poetry and it always brings to mind the quote ascribed to Robert Frost when someone asked him to explain one of his poems: "Do you want me to say it worse?" I always feel woefully unsuited to offer an opinion on poetry: it's a form of artistry I admire...and have zero ability with myself.

That said, over the past month or so, I've moved through this collection from Ward and it felt as familiar as breathing. Ward has a gift of emotional exposure that is universal even while it orbits the specific narrative in play. Here is the queer son's disconnect with the deceased father—the details so very different from the life of this reader, but the emotional reality of it so spot-on that I lean back from the chapbook and feel a tremble in my chest. I remember this, I think, of events that didn't happen to me, but so easily could have been.

The orbits of the poems in Circumference are exactly that: orbits. The narratives are caught in the gravity of family, or lovers, or loss, and while there may be respite, they will circle around again in a decade, or an afternoon. That arc is real, and sometimes brutal, and so very queer I often found myself catching my breath after a piece. (It begins with letting him win / allowing him to see what's within / without knowing if he's kin from "Love" was one of those moments, one of many.)

Circumference feels larger than it is, and like all my favourite collections of poetry, offers a narrative journey that left me pondering after. I find myself reconsidering my own orbits, and wondering how long before it's time to come back around again.
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Reading Progress

September 25, 2018 – Started Reading
October 19, 2018 – Shelved
October 19, 2018 – Shelved as: glbt
October 19, 2018 – Finished Reading

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Andrew Howdle A truthful review-- I enjoyed reading it :-)

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