Book Review: The Cockeyed World

Oh, Mata,Mata, Gretha
Gretha, I boast no gold
Braid nor proud epaulets.
No Fruit Salad spilled 
Across my chest. I don
Only the poet’s uniform

This Cockeyed World by Jim Christy

This Cockeyed World by Jim Christy is his latest collection of poetry. Christy was born in Virginia in 1945 and raised in the notorious ghetto of South Philadelphia. He moved to Canada in 1968 and became a citizen in 1974. Christy is an a talented artist as well as a poet. 

Every so often I come across a poetry collection that completely wows me. Last year it was Helen Mort’s Division Street. This year the wow came early. This Cockeyed World starts early and does not let up. The poems seem modern, but I kept catching dated references to the sixties and World War II. Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Mussolini all make an appearance.

Ginsberg on Saturday night, bent
Over cabala and Wichita Vortex
Sutras, singing the schwartza’s music
At the back of the Synagogue

“‘Couver Blues” is a tale of escape from the dark and rainy city. The poet travels in his words to places where life may be better, but all have their drawbacks too. Once he covers all the places he knows, he sees the sun peeking through and forgets all the other places because now he can lose his ‘Couver Blues.

The imagery and emotion in the poems are fantastic. It does not take the reader long to realize this is what poetry is about. Some of the poems are near ballads and it seems at times the reader is not reading the poem but listening to a bard weave a tale. Other poems like “Heading North” take the reader on an adventure to find peaceful existence. With today’s very free verse and experimental poetry, it is refreshing to read such a clear and mostly traditional collection. Christy is a true artist with words. His range of subjects and the ability to capture a moment is superb. This is a must read collection. 

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