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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review of When Men Bow Down by R. Nemo Hill

The crafty author of this book of poems, When Men Bow Down, manipulates words, meter, and rhyme into traditional forms, testing his perceptions of reality from odd angles and in unusual ways. R. Nemo Hill seems intent upon capturing flickering moments of inspiration from the heavy texture and weightiness of life’s sordid drudgery and inexorable burdens. He succeeds on a number of levels.

In Looking Glass, the first poem in his book, Nemo recreates Plato’s cave with modern complications. The narrator waits for his plane at the airport, looking out the airport window. Through the window he can see the shadowy shapes of grounded planes in a rain storm, as well as the reflections of people coming and going in the climate-controlled building. This vision begs the platonic question: what is reality? The poet observes,

It’s hard to know what’s here and what is there,

what’s in, what’s out, what’s on or through this glass,

what’s real and what’s a phantom—. Though I stare,

the solid state my eye presumes can’t last.

The focus cannot hold. What then remains?

As the various images transit the window, a voice of the usual kind pages lost travelers, defining even more the ghostly nature of our everyday world. The rain alone provides weight and a sense of gravity. This is a first rate poem searching for an anthology. For more of my review of When Men Bow down go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2012/08/when-men-bow-down-by-r-nemo-hill.html

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