It’s opening day here at the bookstore—oh boy!—and what better way to celebrate our metaphorical ribbon cutting than to ask for a book recommendation from a cheery Malvern staff member. If you encounter the awesomely named Tyler Gobble (below left) at the store, here’s what he’ll have to tell you about one of his favorite poetry collections:
Joe Hall’s second book, The Devotional Poems, is like the transcription of a journal found in a lonely, winter-beaten Midwestern woods, taken home, unfolded, typed back out—the words, but also somehow the musty stench and the hisses and the blistering wind it has brought back too—and here unleashed. I love what that wild/wise man, Blake Butler, said in that blurb of his: “[d]evoted, yes, to terror, but true too to the gorgeous black underbelly of how we’re all at once somehow together possessed.” Devotional poems, exorcisms, names for the abyss—these poems transact in that old-timey way of getting rid of the demons, real and imagined, understood and baffling. And whether it works or not—for the author, for the speaker, for you there in your demented home—the shrieks come out of the dangerous rubble and treacherous lulls of life and bring forth a new meaning to staggering and a new breath, somehow, to the broken.