Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: The Insomnia Poems by Harry Calhoun

Harry Calhoun, poet and editor of the magazine Pig in a Poke, is a man of eloquent words established in orderly, brilliant verses. This is evident in his recent chapbook, The Insomnia Poems (2011, Flutter Press). In this volume, he writes of the brutish nuisance that is sleeplessness with tremendous fearlessness and aplomb, musing on his life and his inability to meet the sandman in the lonesomeness of the night. His companion is his beloved dog Alex as he wades through the poetry of pain within those three and four a.m. hours and the absence of all other life to accompany him, with reflections on death and solitude more visual and well articulated than most contemporary poets. In the poem "Out of My Hands" he writes:

"It is a stupid fact/of life and it is yours and is written, defined/that nothing is your fate or will allow you/blessed sleep. It is diabolical, forbidden/black brackish milk laced with forbidden brandy/that tastes of decay and stomach cramps, and/like the blazing slack stare of this 3 a.m.,/will never allow you to rest. It is your/fate and the freefall lack of sustenance./It is the eternal hunger with no food."

Nothing for this reviewer comes closer to that horrid wee-small hour feeling that one cannot sleep, and the poems of this chapbook collection speak better than any I've read of its scourge and its sad moments of enlightenment.

You can order a copy of The Insomnia Poems here:

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