LATENT HEAT by David Fredette


A Year's Worth
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A "year's worth" of intensely personal poetic reflection.

Fredette reflects on his life over the course of a year that is by turns harrowing and hopeful in verse presented in almost diary-like form. The author signs and dates the poems, which are arranged chronologically. Hence, the reader can chart not only Fredette's mental and emotional development over a year, but his poetic progress as well. While poems that appear earlier in the year are often vague and amateurish, his later entries show marked improvement. The former are often too brief, boasting trite, short and disappointing titles like "Leap," "Stand By" and "Relief." It is exceedingly difficult to identify the topics of these early poems, and Fredette uses language that is general and often imprecise. Sometimes the writing is so abstract that it borders on nonsensical–such as the almost completely obscure poems "Not Likely" and "Tendency." The author is also sporadically interested in rhyme but seemingly less concerned with rhythm. Line lengths vary wildly and matching words are lost in the twists and turns of an arbitrary meter. Further, too many rhymes are unnatural or grating. In "Cycle," he forces together "mostly" and "coasting"; in "Two Weeks Notice," he rhymes "complaint" with "way"; in "Finger Split," he puts together "handkerchief" and "drip." However, as the book progresses, Fredette refines the verse and rids his poetry of some of these bad habits. Eight months into the collection, he writes the beautiful, lyric poem "Easter," which features from its first stanza the most stunning image of the brief volume, its intellectual fabric containing concise reflection on the nature of religious belief. It only improves from there; Fredette's last poems are full of sharper portraits, clearer diction and more moving language.

Inconsistent verse that nonetheless shows real growth.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4257-7880-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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