Book Review — Rank


Poetry of a world seen through the fog. It is more than a complete picture of what is being presented. Words give us pieces and the pieces combine to something greater than the whole. The lines of poetry in Rank work like the human eye. There are blind spots, but our brains compensate for this allowing us to see a complete uninterrupted picture. McCollough does this with his words. A quick glance at the lines and the reader misses the big picture. Time is needed for the brain to complete the image.

There are several themes running through the collections. Living inside to the outdoors are compared — chestnut tangles outside and coffee cups on a glass table inside. Nature fights at the man-made world — roots breaking through a wall. There is scale in the sloping shelves of the sea and the sloping shelves of the galaxy. The inside muffles our senses.

Outside the capsule of the self but not
so far you’re alone, guitar
to the fugue, a word for flower.

The fugue: the music or the loss of awareness?

McCollugh weaves together words in a near magical form. It is thinking poetry. A casual glance will not do it justice. There is a feeling of growth beyond the present, a more natural state of things. The man-made world fails in all respects except one — the guitar. It is the beacon that connects worlds and images.


Aaron McCollough’s books of poetry include Welkin, Double Venus, Little Ease, and No Grave Can Hold My Body Down. He was raised in Tennessee. He holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan as well as an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He studies the influence of “passion” on the religious poetics of late 16th and early 17th Century England.


Filed under Book Review

2 responses to “Book Review — Rank

  1. Great review. It’s hard to do that with poetry!

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