thechapbookreview

J.A. Tyler Reviews And the Weary Are at Rest, by Andrew Taylor

And the Weary Are at RestAnd the Weary Are at Rest

Poems by Andrew Taylor
5″ x 8″, hand-stitched
32 pages
ISBN 978-1-934513-10-1
$8
Release date: June 12, 2008

Reviewed by J. A. Tyler

From “Catalf”:

Things will never be the same
again light will angle differently
cold will eat summer

Gone my friend grief will make her heart burst

Can we go on like this with our hearts tied to the land?

Andrew Taylor’s collection And the Weary Are at Rest is a silken thread tying life and death together, bringing circles to their beginnings and revisiting the stages that so commonly wage in us during all the tragic and deathly moments we face. These are poems as seasons, poems as emotional states of being, poems as living.

These poems break at unusual and odd moments, going against the natural reading rhythm we have for poetry, as if to say that the words themselves go against the conventions of phrasing as death goes against the vibrancy of life. When it feels like a line will break, it does not, and via this simple maneuver Taylor keeps a reader earnestly connected to each and every sentence.

From “Wish the World Away”:

Suburban commuter train 7.55
sudden thrash amidst the calm
blackbird flies crashes into closed doors
lays there stunned and frozen
beak opens weakly

Mindful of departure time nobody
moves I feel a sickness rise as
eventually a woman cups
soft hands carefully around the bird and
lays it carefully to rest.

Taylor also layers nearly every poem here with intimations of temperature or scent, environment or sound, weaving a sensory experience beneath the narrative lines and contextual elements of each text. So this too, like the curious breaks in phrasing, keeps us awake within this lulling exploration of life and death, this calm and impressionistic painting of how it is that we continue.

From “To the Bone”:

The smell that lingers
and nestles on my neck
seems age old or is
it just familiarity explored
after years of silence

Am I to enjoy the silence
or immerse myself in an
uneasiness that lies deep
within

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