Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Mouth for Picket Fences by Barry Napier

I've known about Barry Napier's work for a few years now, and he's always trying something new: comic books, novels, short stories. Granted, whatever Barry touches usually has a dark edge. 2010 was a big poetry year for Barry, and Needfire Poetry (an imprint of Belfire Press) released his first all-poetry collection, A Mouth for Picket Fences, in late September.

I'm a big fan of imagery, especially poems which surprise and sometimes shock. These kind of treats fill A Mouth for Picket Fences. Consider the following examples:

"The morning spoke in tongues of thunder..." (from "Eggs")

"It was the sort of day where one would / write their eulogy on a napkin stained with mustard." (from "Lives Upon a Napkin")

I also enjoy a strong sound-sense in verse--not necessarily rhyme or careful, repetitive meter, but the way a poem "feels" in your mouth when read aloud. Napier's poems beg to be spoken, tasted, felt...

If you like dark poetry and delight in surprises, look no further.

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