It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve read a book of poetry. I used to love it, write it, and just plain absorb it, but somehow, someway, I’ve fallen away from it. I recently won HoSho McCreesh’s latest, For All These Wretched, Beautiful, & Insignificant Things So Uselessly & Carelessly Destroyed, and I got it in the mail today. I opened it, thumbed through it, and then put it down for later. My internal monologue went something like this: “I’ll read it later.” “But when?” “Later.” “Why not now?” “Too much going on.” “Ha! Too much going on? Your wife and daughter are at a princess birthday party, and your son is sleeping off a fever in his room.” “Yeah, that’s a lot going on.” “But you’re doing nothing.” “I’m watching football.” “You’re watching a game you don’t really care about.”
Needless to say, I picked up the poetry book again. I was first struck by the unique art work on the cover, and throughout the book by Kevin Charles Kline. It seemed to generate its own dark whimsy as body parts (arms and legs) were strewn across the cover and spilled onto the back. There was no blood, no guts, or no gore; just numerous non-threatening drawings of body parts and two skeletons who seemed to be hard at work, quite possibly cutting up these bodies. I just reread the above, and I realize it sounds morbid, but honestly, it really wasn’t, and I think that’s where the dark whimsy comes in to play.
As I moved past the art work, and began to delve into the meat of the book, I noticed a similar dark whimsy as it also danced through McCreesh’s poetry. His words scrambled across the page like ants on a mission, knowing exactly what their job was, and skillfully, precisely, masterfully, building a work that is much more than the sum of all its parts.
For All These Wretched, Beautiful, & Insignificant Things So Uselessly & Carelessly Destroyed is written by a man who loves words. It is through McCreesh’s love of words, and their beauty, combined with his ability to find that special kernel of truth in the banal, that a refreshingly raw, new world was created for me. It was a world where I was confronted with the cruelty of mankind, and at the same time, was so taken with the vehicle of confrontation, McCreesh’s words, that I felt a certain dissidence.