Friday, September 4, 2009

FROSTBITTEN by Mark Walton

I bought this book. Actually, I needed to buy it. It was shipped to me over 5000 miles from the depths of Canada (even though Mark only lives 150 miles from me.) I wanted to have it in my palms, on my flesh, because from the moment I read a few of the poems I knew this was something special. I don’t often feel this way about books and if I am going to spend money on the damn things, I want it sitting next to my bed so I can look at it, read it, feel it, often. So why is Mark’s book special? Notice I didn’t say great, lovely, amazing, whatever, I said special. Because, these poems, and there aren’t many of them (only a large handful really) are about love. Not love in the LOVE sense with flowers and kisses and downy skin and soft eyes and fuck, but rather love in the unshaven, rough handed, tender soul under the tattooed heart kind of sense. Long before I ever met Mark in person, I could tell this from the words. There’s a love of life in the book, an honesty of emotion and there is never any wondering who or from where the poems are speaking. It’s him. In a world of poetic bitching and cathartic rants, this collection is written with finesse and confidence. Even better, the poems are NOT written in the sometimes dysentery-like flood that some poets seem to favor. In fact, I would even go so far as to say some of the poems are downright heart wrenching, and although I despise the general use of clich├ęd terms, I can’t find another one to capture that essence. Heart wrenching.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this book is not a sob story. It’s not a “play on your emotions with platitudes and banalities weep in the bathroom” kind of book. Instead, Mark’s work is something that I can read without criticism, cynicism, or competitive rancor. I couldn’t write these poems if I tried. I haven’t lived them, he has. And that is what is so special about them. No one else could do this. His voice, experience, and tone are uniquely his. Long after he is gone, this work will speak, because he’s not grinding the same stones and sleeping in the same bed as everyone else. He lives on a houseboat for Christ’s sake. I envy him, but in the way you love someone just for being them. I love this book for being exactly what it is: worthy. 

Opinion: Excellent Read

-review by GJ

48 pages
saddle stitched
$7.50 USD

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