Reviews in 200 Words

Paper Anniversary, by Bobby C. Rogers (Reviewed by Benjamin Glass)

In Guest Punch: Benjamin Glass, Poetry on November 17, 2010 at 5:21 pm

How does a line measure out to be both long and patient, but never boring? Rogers presents a long, narrative-lyric line that commands interest because of its character. Particularly southern, we can expect the sharp wit and humble wisdom of a deprecating persona. When his car is robbed in “Philosophy,” he admits: “I can’t say the car was broken into since I’d forgotten to lock it.” But of course he’s said it, right there in not saying it. He spins his yarn, humorously offering the consolations of philosophers—how “[w]hen a thief took his lamp, Epictetus cursed himself for owning one/ worth coveting”—yet he doesn’t flout his knowledge, but uses it to lay out the “noble” response of a thinker compared to the morehuman response toward theft: “these weary tenets/ of dead men’s systems, knocked together so I might stop thinking how somewhere/ some thieving bastard is listening to Johnny and June trade verses on Live at Folsom Prison.” Rogers doesn’t rely on obscurity or iconoclasm to keep the poems interesting; no, his lines unroll into the ear with the music of a storyteller and the rhythms of a finely crafted bentwood rocking chair.

-Benjamin Glass


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