Friday, February 20, 2015

Resonance Dark & Light

 Resonance Dark & Light, by Bruce Boston. From Eldritch Press, 2015.  89 pages.

Should we call Bruce Boston the hardest working man in speculative poetry? I don’t know anyone else who has a better claim over a career, and certainly no one who has demonstrated the kind of consistent brilliance that Boston has. His poems are widely published for a very good reason; they resonate with readers. Boston’s latest collection, currently available for preorder at Eldritch Press, even has “resonance” in its title, and ends with a masterful piece entitled “Resonance Redux.”


Resonance Dark & Light contains fifty-two poems. Many of these have been published in poetry magazines around the world, although several are new. Several are also award winning pieces, such as “The Music of the Stars,” which won the 2013 Balticon Poetry Award. Such is the quality of all these pieces, however, that the award winners don’t generally call any special attention to themselves among the other fine works. An exception to this, for me, is “Surreal Shopping List,” which won the SFPA’s 2014 Dwarf Form (under 11 lines) Category. I don’t know that this is my favorite Bruce Boston poem ever, but it’s my favorite right now. It seems so deceptively simple as well, and yet I’ve been trying—without succeeding—for a month now to produce even a semblance of its “coolness.” 

I don’t know that it was Boston’s intent, but I felt like the first poems in this collection were more light-hearted than much of the previous stuff I’ve read from him. The pieces then turned darker, and darker, before lightening up again toward the end. It felt much like the passing of day into night and back to day, or perhaps like the progression of the seasons. The title itself suggests such a passage.

All I really know is that Resonance Dark & Light, tickled me, chilled me, and set me to thinking.  Ranging from the Bradburyesque imagery of “The Music of Skeletons,” and “Chrononaut Inductees,” to the science fiction terrors of “Tasty Horrors,” to the sheer fun of “Not Only Thoats,” to the impossible to categorize pieces like “Surreal Shopping List,” this collection is hard to pigeonhole but impossible not to enjoy.  For more information about Bruce Boston and his work, you can also check out his website

And just remember, “not only thoats need the warm dark.”

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20 comments:

Brian Miller said...

i need to check this out...i am not familiar with the poet...then again, i only turned to poetry several years ago, from short story...so...but this is pretty high praise...will rectify my oversight...

Charles Gramlich said...

Brian, he is my favorite spec poet. I believe I've reviewed most of his collections. I always find them enjoyable.

RTD said...

Well, even this old dog has learned a new trick. I had never heard of speculative poetry. Now you have introduced me to something new. Ah, a new trick! Thanks!

Charles Gramlich said...

RTD,sort of where horror, SF, Fantasy and surrealism meet

the walking man said...

Remember G-Mans 55's. That was really where I learned to be short and direct. Good lord I miss him. I will have to look up this latest work you're recommending. See if I can "get into his head"

sage said...

I have not heard of him, but I like how you describe the movement of poetry from light to dark and the image of the keys of a piano.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Very tempting review. I will check it out.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, I think you might like his stuff. You can find some samples at his website I believe

Sage, yes, that image is quite evocative.

Bernard, excellent poet.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think I realized there was speculative poetry. Wow.

Oscar said...

Thanks for the notice, but I'll pass on this.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, the best kind, to me, at least.

Oscar, not for everyone, of course. I like this kind of stuff but many don't.

ivan said...

Some years ago, a Detroit friend came to visit the McMichael Gallery here in our neck of the woods
to fully view Canada's Group of Seven artists.
Seemingly "pinetreed out"he snorted.
"Ah c'mon. I wanna be knocked on my ass. I been to New York. This ain't much."
So, far be it for me, published in only four magazines, mostly provincial--to criticize a man of obvious (metaphysical?) talent.

I have only read three or four of Mr. Boston's poems--but I've got to say I'm a little underwhelmed.
It might be something I've been accused of--"Just too wordy" and seemingly not getting at the heart of the matter.
But what do I know. At college they used to call me a journalistic hack,

jodi said...

Charles-I am an idiot that has never understood anything but the basic of basic poetry! I need to get with Mark for a tutorial!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I didn't know about "speculative poetry" and since I love good poetry, I'll look out for this collection by Bruce Boston. I'm not familiar with modern and contemporary poets.

Vesper said...

Yes, I remember you mentioned him before. Sounds like an amazing collection. I really have to check it out. Thank you!

And, I'm sorry I didn't get to tell you earlier but the excerpt from "The Razored Land" is fantastic. Looking forward to reading it all.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ivan, hum, I don't find his poems wordy. I always get very strong images from his work. But nothing out there is for everyone.

Jodi, I don't understand half the poems I read either, but I just like the language.

Prashant, I used to write quite a lot of poetry. I hardly do much these days. Most of what I wrote was speculative.

Vesper, thanks for the kind words!

Lisa said...

isn't it amazing how one's words can move you and take you through a series of emotions. I do want to be inspired, almost all the time - I am back at my blog and working on it, hola Charles

Charles Gramlich said...

Lisa, good to see you. I haven't been able to visit blogs for a few days because of school and some other issues, but I should return this weekend.

Riot Kitty said...

What is speculative poetry? I'm curious now.

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot Kitty, it's poetry with SF/fantasy/horror elements in general, or that are surreal. Not standard reality.