Galas’ first collection of poetry is substantial of breadth and sure of voice, covering topics ranging from science to love with an authoritative flare.
The collection is made up of more than 100 poems with photographs and drawings by the author scattered throughout. “The world does not need you—know it the hard way, / by gathering shards,” Galas says in “A Poet’s Fate.” It is these shards of images, ideas and moments that Galas and, by extension, his reader need on the journey through this hefty collection. The book is divided into three unnamed thematic sections—which might be described as nature, love and society—and the movement among them reflects both the cycle of life and the evolution of this poet’s mind and vision. While the poems vary wildly from meditations on science to elegies to reconstructed memories, the voice is constant in its seeking of beauty and meaning through melancholy. At times, the mediations may be too abstract in their language for the reader to maintain a sure foothold, though refreshing images shine through; “the steel curtain of time” in “Rain Fell Today,” “pieces of days lived in sunlight and sound” in “The Poet’s Fate” and “knives of silken promise” in “Breasts.” Later poems tackle political and social issues and in their specificity are some of the most vibrant pieces of the whole, as the narrator takes the reader back to the disappointments of the Bush-Cheney years and on some overseas travels that offer new perspectives on life. Overall, more variation would be welcome in the narrator’s voice, as the “I” feels static from poem to poem, bringing a redundancy to those who read the book straight through from start to finish.
While this collection feels unruly in length and scope, single poems digested slowly offer the exceptional pleasures of poetry.