Bruce Boston. Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems, 1971-2012. Colusa, CA: Dark Renaissance Books. 2013.156 pp. ISBN 13: 978-1-937128-90-6. Illustrated by M. Wayne Miller.
Bruce Boston has been writing for many years but I only discovered him about fifteen years ago when I joined the Science Fiction Poetry Association. I was immediately struck by Boston’s ability to evoke images I’d never experience before, and by his immense vocabulary and a talent for wielding words with the delicacy of an épée. Since that time I’ve eagerly awaited every new poem he’s released. I’d have no idea of the count of individual poems that Boston has published, but there are more than forty collections of his work. He has certainly been productive.
Recently, Dark Renaissance Books released a selected collection of many of Boston’s best “long” poems published between 1971 and 2012. I’m not sure exactly how they define long poems but all the ones here are at least two pages of material. Most are quite a bit more. Some are certainly epic in length as well as scope.
As a result of this being a “selected” collection, I’ve previously read many of these poems. I believe this actually increased my enjoyment of them. Boston’s poetry is so rich that I’ve often found myself rereading his work anyway. The first time through I’m swept up by the imagery, which is always perfect but seldom what you expect, and by the joy of the word play. The second time I read for meaning, and though I’m not always able to extract a coherent meaning, I’m always left with a sense of ‘resonance,’ a sense that truth lies within if I but had the breadth of experience to grasp it.
It’s hard to pick favorites from such a collection, where every page holds gems, but I have to call out two particular poems, the multiple award winning “Pavane for a Cyber-Princess,” and “She Was There for Him the Last Time.” Here’s a fragment from “Last Time.”
she was there for him the last time
in the bombed-out city
where the decimating trajectories
left their scars upon the earth
like sabers crossed and waiting
I highly recommend any and all of Boston’s work. You can pick Dark Roads up from the publisher: http://www.darkregions.com/books/dark-roads-by-bruce-boston
You should certainly check out Boston’s website, where you can access some of his work online:
I’ll end with a quote from another poem in Dark Roads, “In the Short Seasons of a Long Year without You.”
This sheet of broken lines
I leave for you to find.