Memory is one of the most uniquely human attributes. We learn and improve our lives, enrich and deepen our current experiences through remembering the past. Much, if not most of the poetry that we write and read, quote and re-quote is rooted in the using of the past to illuminate our present. Some poets do this much better than others.
One of those poets is P. Ivan Young, and in his recent collection, Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain from BrickHouse Books, we witness a wondrous poet going about his poetry work with such craft and emotion we linger and return to his poems time and again.
Young’s talents are on display in the very first poem, “Contortion,” a poem that begins innocently with the lines
The apartment doors
open like boxes
and we unfold.
and proceeds to unfurl the bodies of the stories behind the doors in the speaker’s apartment complex. It is those stories that twist us, tangle our lives, and somehow we are able to contort our days into some semblance of a life.
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