Gary Geddes has written a book of voices – voices often suppressed but always necessary – that he takes great pains to understand from inside their specific realities. When I say voices, I refer both to poetic and dramatic technique as well as to the tellers of extraordinary experiences that Geddes seeks out, hears, transcribes and fashions into poetry.
Ian Burgham, whose last collection appeared in 2012, has chosen an ideal title for his fifth book of poetry. Throughout its forty-five-poem length, this hard-hitting travelogue of the spirit addresses three mainstays of existence: we’re essentially alone, death is inevitable and relationships often break down. He opens with a poem of spousal betrayal set in Scotland and asks “what do we hunger for most— / truth or illusion?” Then we move on to “Istanbul” where, despite the exotic splendour of the place, “the heart’s attachments / can be dismantled.”