Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe by Beth Gordon

Morning walk

My enormous thanks to Isabelle Kenyon of Fly on the Wall Poetry for sending me a copy of Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe by Beth Gordon in return for an honest review. It’s been far too long since I featured any poetry.

Published by Animal Heart Press, Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe is available for purchase here or directly from the publisher here.

Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe

Morning walk

In her stunning debut collection, Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe Beth Gordon addresses loss and grief in a unique way, blending her impeccable craft with a new vision, a new voice, and indeed a new language; at times formal yet following a new modern standard of magical realism and out of body pain and transcendence. Gordon’s poetry is brilliant yet accessible to the masses – and addresses themes and feelings to which all mothers, parents and ultimately humans will relate to and find solace with her tender and sometimes rightfully angry words. She blends the ordinary with the extraordinary using lush, magical words that are sweet in the mouth and roll off the tongue.

My Review

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Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe

A collection of poems around the themes of death, grief and being human.

What a wonderful celebration of language Beth Gordon has produced in Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe. Think of the very best wordscapes of Dylan Thomas, or the innovative compound words of Gerard Manly Hopkins blended with the depth of emotion from Emily Dickinson and you have some indication of the quality of verse in this slim volume.

It’s impossible to do justice to the quality of language Beth Gordon employs in Morning Walk. She manages to convey all the senses in her poetry so that I found myself tingling with emotion and the sheer pleasure of delving into the writing, the language and the imagery. The natural references are beautiful, but it is the creation of pictures and sounds in the reader’s head as they experience Beth Gordon’s poetry that is so wonderful. I loved, for example, the use of the adjective ‘sobbing’ to describe trains because not only does it convey the sound of a train so well, but it embodies the times trains remove us from those we love, tearing at our emotions and making us want to sob.

I thought the structure of the poems was phenomenal. Many take free verse to its extreme and look dense and inaccessible on the page, but when they are read aloud they take on meaning and substance that transcends their original appearance.

I loved all these poems and have reread them several times. I could hardly bear Crown: In Which I Compare Tuberculosis Sanitariums to Resurrection because it made me think of my Dad and the scattering of his ashes, stirring up all the emotions I felt at the time. The idea of a mobile phone as a ‘touchstone of sorrow’ at four in the morning in Pisces/Aries Cusp is something I think many, many readers might relate to and is just a small example of how Beth Gordon turns the mundane into the extraordinary.

So many of the poems in Morning Walk are about negative emotions such as guilt or sorrow and yet I didn’t find them at all depressing. They made me feel as if Beth Gordon had looked into my soul, seen my darkest thoughts and fears and understood them. It was as if she were adding a slave to my most self-destructive times and providing me with healing. This is a collection I will return to time and again because the depth of language, imagery and emotion has so many layers I feel I have only just begun to scratch the surface of Beth Gordon’s writing. Magnificent!

About Beth Gordon

beth gordon

Beth Gordon is poet, mother and grandmother, currently landlocked in St. Louis, MO. She’s traveled and lived all over the United States (and some of the world) and was raised by a pair of liberal Southerners who taught her how to make buttermilk biscuits when she was three years old. It’s rumored that she has an MFA from American University, but it was so long ago that she may have just dreamed it.

Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous journals including Into the Void, AntiHeroin Chic, Drunk Monkeys, Noble/Gas, Five: 2:One, SWWIM, Verity La, Califragile, Pretty Owl Poetry and Yes Poetry. She is also the Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.

You can follow Beth on Twitter @bethgordonpoet.

2 thoughts on “Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe by Beth Gordon

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