Book Review: Let There Be Light

All we eat is grace, and the only way to feel better
about the death of a tomato
is one day a tomato will feast upon our bones

Let There Be Light by Nick Courtright

Let There Be Light by Nick Courtright is a collection of poetry with the biblical creation story, in reverse, as a theme. Courtright previous collection of poetry, Punchline, was a 2012 finalist in the National Poetry Series. He has been working as a music journalist for The Austinist. I was surprised to learn that we are both from large families in Ohio and currently live a few hours apart in Texas. 

Courtright works the creation story in reverse starting on the day of rest and working his way back to “Let there be light.” It is not a religious collection of poetry as such but uses the theme. Courtright, obviously, has some science knowledge from his included “Note” at the end of the collection. He gives a calendar comparison of fourteen billion years and the seven days. 

Most of the poems are a loose style of poetry, but nothing too extreme in style or subject. The writing is easy to follow and the poems are well writing and enjoyable regardless of your stance on creation or science. The theme is also rather loosely held.

A few poems jumped out at me. In the Sixth Day section the poem “Brief Essay of Sameness” introduces some philosophers. 

To know the news of the day 
is to know the news of any day

evolves to Thoureau

To a philosopher, all news, as it is called is gossip

The way it is is as it has always been

is challenged by Hume and the acquisition of knowledge

Knowing this, the infant
is immune to boredom, for all
she sees is new 

The poem “Intelligent Design” plays an interesting thought game by taking thirty years of life and examining how long it is when expressed in seconds, hours, days and then how short it is compared to the time man walked on earth, then primate, then mammals. Taken even further as the fraction of time since the earth formed and finally compared the big bang. The last bit of math magic compares nanoseconds, thirty years, and one hundred light years. Complex science/mathematics in a poem. Rather refreshing. 

Let There Be Light is a smart, well written collection of poetry that is very enjoyable to the read. Despite the title and theme it is not a religious work, but more so philosophical or spiritual. A top shelf edition to my poetry bookshelf. 

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