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.”