Book Reviews

Book Review: Obelisk by J L Pugh

**This book was reviewed for the Seattle Book Review*


I have no words adequate to describe the beauty of this work. As the opening poem, Progeny, suggests, each of these poems are seeds, burrowing in the mind to unfurl exquisite truths. I have an ecopy of this book, but I want a hardcopy to keep close by, that I may pick and choose at my ease a poem, or poems, upon which to marinate. Poetry, more than any other form of writing, can serve as the vital Prima Materia, the alchemic catalyst of change, not only for the poet, but the reader as well.


These poems are mostly free verse, though there are rhyming ones as well. Threads of agnostic scepticism, cynicism, and disillusionment with modernity run through the collection, encountered time and again. Many struck an immediate resonance with me, upon that first reading, for I share a similar disillusionment with, and cynicism towards, today’s society, and a scepticism of the organised Book faiths. Here I rely on deeper spiritual wisdom born of solitude, and respect for discernment. I have to say, ‘Future at Knifepoint’, seems so very relevant now, in our country’s current state, where ignorance rules over knowledge. Some of my other favourites are below.


‘Twenty-first Century Definitions’- a knife spearing truth with cynical amusement.


‘Capitalism Even Pimps Medicines’- a witty truth to a very sad trend. I remember when you would never find prescription medicine commercials. Who thought it a good idea?


‘Just a Life’- having just reviewed a book about a soldier in World War II, which had itself stirred memories of my soldier grandfather, this poem hit home.


‘Selling the End’- this poem is double-layered, given today’s political climate with the sheep-like conservatives dragging countries down, partially goaded on by a false sense of religious superiority. An end is coming, oh yes, but ends herald rebirth and new growth.


‘Truth Is..’- a poem for the Resistance.


‘Dissolve’- a reminder of the knowledge my grandmere attempted to instill. Some remains, though much is eroded.


‘Wash’- a bittersweet reminder of the fading bond of friendship that this past election finally snapped.
????? An eloquent commentary on today’s society sure to resonate with the heart and soul of those who place high value on thinking for oneself, and who, like the poet, are somewhat disenchanted with the state of affairs in this day and age.

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