Sunday , May 26 2024
still arriving Bruce Kauffman

Book Review: ‘still arriving’ by Bruce Kauffman

still arriving

Kingston, Ontario, Canada’s Bruce Kauffman‘s latest volume of poetry, still arriving, has just been released. Like the poet’s previous works this collection features short, elegant glimpses into a familiar world made wondrous through his words and pen.

Kauffman has the rare skill to take the seemingly prosaic and turn it into something almost magical or unearthly. The discarded coffee mug and an abandoned pink hoodie spotted by the narrator in “mid-november early morning”: “across the street/an unpainted wooden deck/ and on its rail/a large white coffee mug/and a same distance/into the park/on its still green grass/a pink hoodie sweater/slightly rolled up/either   both/left behind/mug    sweater/remnants?/or a vanishing?”

How often have you done something similar? Created a little story in your head around objects you espy lying somewhere. These moments are usually forgotten in a trice – transitory gems of imagination. Kauffman doesn’t forget these moments – he hoards them like buried treasure and then displays their sparkling nature in his poems.

Poems with not a wasted word

Kauffman is able to communicate an incredible array of thoughts and emotions while never wasting a single word. Unlike some, who rely on a scattershot technique of burying a reader with verbiage and hoping something strikes a chord or recognition, his poems are sparse and clean and cut like a knife, exposing the thought or emotion at a piece’s core with elegance and beauty. 

The best analogy I can think of is the difference between a lead guitar player who can pick exactly the right note to augment a song’s rhythm and the one who merely seeks to overwhelm the listener through the sheer volume of notes played. Kauffman never strikes a wrong note or misses his timing. 

From the incredible simplicity and poignancy of “July 2019”: (“i realize as i write/that i hold an unguided/pen in my right hand/its ink as fragile/as it is indelible.”) to the more involved and introspective  “watching”: (“after all these years/after all those years/of always sitting with my back/to the wall/this morning I forgot”), each of Kauffman’s poems takes the reader down a path replete with emotional and intellectual depths that will take their breath away.

still arriving by Bruce Kauffman is as an excellent example of how less is so much more powerful when it comes to words, and especially poetry. You don’t have to dig deep or far to uncover the buried treasures in his words as the jewels are rich and plentiful in each poem.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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