Monday, October 17, 2016

What I've Read: Sun & Urn by Christopher Salerno

Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

The poems of Sun & Urn by Christopher Salerno are a multifaceted exploration of grief – its contradictions, the beauty that can be found in the midst of sorrow, and, naturally, the keenly felt despair that comes with loss. This exploration evokes sentimental tones and subjects that never delve into the trite, always pushing forth into sublimity and surprise.

The grieving process of Sun & Urn is focused through ordinary objects that are elevated in surprising ways. In “The Evening Report”, Salerno writes: “
I am falling in love with the material world”, reinforcing the necessity of attention to object; the emphasis on concrete forms that exist around us make them a grounding force in both life and poem. That is, the objects of Sun & Urn remind us that even after death there are bodies, there are material things, there is life. This sense is even reflected in the title Sun & Urn, emphasizing the large, universal, and distant in conjunction with the immediate material witness of past, present, and future.

In this way, each poem unpacks emotional upheaval directly and honestly in its exploration of what is left – in endings, death, beginnings, there are scattered aspects of people and lives left behind. These poems channel that sense of transformation, and carry with them a certain breathless witness that comes with contending with the inevitability of life and death.

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