Loads of Learned Lumber

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Brandon Courtney, _The Grief Muscles_ and _Rooms for Rent in the Burning City_

I READ COURTNEY'S "The Physics of War" in  the November 2015 issue of The Progressive and immediately went online to see what I could order. Turns out he has these two volumes, The Grief Muscles from 2014 and Rooms for Rent in the Burning City from 2015. I submitted a review of the latter to a more respectable blog, where it may well be showing up one of these fine days, so I will not go into detail here save to say there is yet another fine young poet out there.

"The Physics of War" is not included in either volume, and is a bit more formally adventurous than most of the work that is, but like his other work does draw on his experience as a Navy combat veteran of the Iraq war. He is also a veteran of another war, having grown up in an Iowa small town during the meth epidemic; he is also the son of a Viet Nam veteran who sounds like he had his own demons, so there is a good deal of pain in the poems. Along with the pain, however, is music, cadence, imagery, and other such old-fashioned virtues.

And good for you, Progressive, for continuing to publish poems and excellent ones at that.

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