Adam Laws shows the value of indie-published poetry in Morgue, a wonderful collection of beautifully crafted poems.
A slight shyness on the book’s ‘blurb’ seems to downplay the ‘morbid representation of life’ in the poems. Well, any representation of life that isn’t morbid is going to be pale and thin. Life is morbid. The pale and thin narratives we use individually and as cultures to provide delusional comforts, security and ‘meaning’ are evaporated when we explore the depths (even when our depth exploration is, as one poem reminds us, itself pretty thin).
This collection shows us what self-publishing does best. Poetry never did gain a wide readership, especially contemporary poetry. For Adam, like almost all poets, it will be the very narrow sector of reviews that may inspire someone else to read. Twenty serious readers of poetry who claim that a poet is worth reading may circulate and increase exposure. So this reviewer says, Adam Laws is a serious poet with the required combination of feeling and craft.
I’ve ‘read’ all of the poems several times. I say ‘read’ because I like to read (without inverted commas) one poem at a time, maybe half an hour of reading ‘poetically’. The anthology here has to join my (many) poets to whom I return time and again.
The poems are short, often involving a momentarily glimpsed ‘real’ image such as a high-rise, the interior of a living room, a balloon deflating. They blur what the ‘real’ world takes a fixed, sharp-contoured relationships and forms. I/You/We/They; surface and depth; simplicity and complexity; coherence and fragmentation; darkness and light; shadow (-play) and bodies; livng bodies and corpses; desire and mind. And verb and noun: one formal trope Laws uses to dissolve the ‘thinginess’ of things is to use a noun as a verb: ‘An ill observe’.
The poet’s ‘darkness’ is interlaced with stock situations (including affairs of the heart) and stock, quotidian phrases. A fine sense of bathos deflates the portentous digging in the depths. Laws is confident and accomplished with regard to his craft. Cadence resonates with imagery. A few examples of the latter: ‘desire becoming derelict’; ‘buried blunders’; ‘hoarse and haggard boaters’ (on the) ‘brain canal’…’greet in grim salute’; ‘some/empty department of death’.
I’ve many more thoughts about ‘Morgue’ (including some possible minor criticisms) but overall, this is by far the most nourishing contribution to the quality of life you could hope to come across for the price of a cup of coffee