Persaud (The Apple Orchard, 2009, etc.) offers a poetry collection that advocates for quick-witted reason in an unreasonable world.
The poet splits his 48 rapid-fire poems into sections titled “the colony,” “the Creator,” and “writer’s block: a book of shitty poems,” and in each, he discusses what’s wrong with the world in general, and with interpersonal relationships in particular. There are down-to-earth poems about domestic abuse, unwanted pregnancy, racism in America, and emotionally distant fathers, and there are also imagistic allegories involving elephants, ants, and caged birds—all told with a conversational ease. His poem “bad weather” seems to sum up his speakers’ approach to life: One may dream about being a rose, “but sometimes / you need / to be a weed.” The animal-themed poems give the collection the feel of fable—“cat and mouse,” for instance, clearly aims to teach readers a lesson. But for all the sermonizing, there are plenty of jokes here, as well; in them, holy aspirations and profane language sit side by side, which often results in absurdity. Persaud’s poems have short lines and simple rhyme schemes; at their best, they build staccato rhythms that pull readers forward from image to image (“one by one / in the heat / of the sun”). Sometimes, though, the need to rhyme throws poems into awkward tangents, and some lines are unnecessarily presented in all caps to drive points home. However, the poet’s experiments in wordplay and humor are brief, so readers never have to go far to get to the next success.
A plaintive cry for sense, related in a poetic voice.