Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I marvel at a book that can pull me in
...within its first few lines and hold me till the end. So it was with Shane Neilson's Meniscus. I don't know Neilson, but I'm familiar with some of his work at Frog Hollow Press. I ordered Meniscus after reading his guest post on Thirsty, where he talks about "the cringe factor in the confessional." I was curious. When it came in the mail the other day I gave it a customary quick look as I had things on the go that I wanted to get back to. So I admired the cover and the paper on which the poems are printed. Then I made the mistake of reading "Recovery," the first poem. I was hooked. There went the afternoon. The book not only held me, but it summoned rare tears ("Bedside Delirium: Family Visit") and smiles ("Love Life") and feelings for which I have no words ("Paranoia", "Light"). While the speaker is fully fleshed, full of heart and warm blooded, there is no cringe factor, just as there is no cringe factor when one reads a good novel. Meniscus drew me into its world and in the end, like good books do, no matter the genre, left me feeling oddly hopeful and more alive.