Reading as a Writer: “Honey”

During the last week, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Richard Carr’s second book of poetry to be published this year, Honey.  Unlike Mister Martini, this collection reads like a road trip with someone well versed in the psychedelic.  The language and images are so rich and layered, I needed to parcel out the poems so I wouldn’t experience mental and sensory overload.  And wow, what a collection.  (Full disclosure: Richard lives in my neighborhood and is a friend.)

As I read, I had to remind myself that the “I” is not Richard, and it seems to change as a character from one poem to the next.  Other characters that pop up and become comments on life and the world: the Poet, the Boy, the Bearded Lady, and the Hapax Legomenon.  I thought of a road trip, also, because each poem of the one hundred is a location in and of itself, and yet it is part of the whole journey.  The language is delicious, full of beautiful incongruities and startling images.

Some examples:

  • “…the flash and tonnage/of the shrapnel cathedral –“
  • “Her logic is washable in cold water only.”
  • “The land is leaking away.”
  • “His happiest thoughts stand in the rain/at a lawn party.”
  • “…sleep,/the liquidation of all assets,”
  • “An idea rattles in a jammed turnstile.”

Bees play a prominent role on this poetic journey, buzzing here and there, alighting on a pungent word or two.  A reader might be tempted to sample the poems out of order, but I’d encourage a reading from the beginning through to the end, no skipping around.  Each poem builds on the tone and language and emotion of the one before. 

This collection is one I’ll be keeping, and I’ll return to it again.  An enjoyable and provocative reading experience, and an excellent reason to read poetry every morning….


2 responses to “Reading as a Writer: “Honey”

  1. Happy New Year! I hope your 2009 is starting out well.

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