I first met J. Bruce Fuller at a science fiction convention many years ago. He was much younger than I, and I remember him having a lot more hair than now. We talked quite a while after one of my panels and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. In fact, we’ve worked together several times on various poetry projects, including my collection of vampire haiku called Wanting the Mouth of a Lover. I’ve been very happy to see him gaining a reputation as a prominent Louisiana and southern poet. From my reading of his work, it’s well deserved. Below, I review his latest chapbook offering.
J. Bruce Fuller. Notes To A Husband. Imaginary Friend Press. 2013. 18 pp. Introduction by Amy Fluery. Edited by Dan Nowak.
J. Bruce Fuller is a Louisiana native who obtained his MFA in poetry from McNeese State University and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Louisiana—Lafayette. He has already been widely published and his latest poetry chapbook, Notes To A Husband, is the subject of this review.
In Fuller’s latest chapbook, he uses the form of notes from a wife to a husband to illustrate the waning of a relationship. There is no heightened poetical language to mask or mythologize the relationship. It is laid out stark on the page, in the common language of humanity. All the ambivalence of such dramas is there. Even while the woman thinks “about old lovers” she washes her husband’s “favorite mug.” She admits her own faults; she sugarcoats nothing.
It’s often claimed that what is left unsaid is at least as important as what is actually said. Notes To A Husband illustrates this perfectly. I’ve seldom been made so keenly aware of what can be revealed “between the lines.” In her introduction to Fuller’s collection, Amy Fluery refers to the “indirection of silence,” and I think that’s a very fine way of describing the depth to be found in these mostly brief poems. They’re like the proverbial house that is much bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. They expand in your consciousness as you read them.
I highly recommend Notes To A Husband. You can find out more about the collection, or order a copy for yourself, at Imaginary Friend Press: www.imaginaryfriendpress.com
I'm holding my copy of Notes To A Husband and enjoyed JBF's poems. I was drawn to the concept of a wife leaving notes and what I might learn from them. Funny, I can read these poems on different days, in different moods, and get different meanings.
I like your review. I especially like "They expand in your consciousness as you read them."
Jess, glad you enjoyed. J. is becoming a juggernaut!
That is quite the recommendation!
Riot Kitty, good stuff. I really like his poetry, particularly an earlier collection he published called 28 blackbirds at the end of the world!
Excellent review and advocacy for Notes to a Husband. And I love the name "Imaginary Friend Press."
Erik, yep, a pretty cool name for a press.
This is such a beautiful review, Charles. Thank you. I like the way you introduced him.
I went to the Imaginary Friend site and read the poem about the spider... It made me sad... But you are right about the things from in between the lines...
I'll have to ask them if they ship to Canada too.
Notes To A Husband is the kind of book I'd like to read at age 70+
...And you were lucky enough to have read it first.
Vesper, there's definitely sadness in it, but hope as well. The entire gamut.
Ivan, I'm lucky like that. :)
A very fine review, Charles, almost poetic in its tone. The line about the unsaid being as important as what is said has such deep meaning.
Prashant, thanks. I appreciate that.
I find the concept of silence speaking louder than words a profound one. Musicians often rely on silence to add meaning to sound. It would make sense that poets would do this too--I'm guessing, since I've never been much of a poet.
Congratulations and best wishes for Razored Zen Press.
X-Dell, I remember a song by Dio teaching me a lot about the power of silence. Heavy guitar and drum, and a sudden silence that was just painful in intensity while you waited for the next beat to fall.
Charles-I love silence. In this overstimulating life we live, sometimes quiet is the only way I can think. What's NOT said does speak volumes-if you listen for it.
Jodi, it does indeed. I'd like more of it!
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