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Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, and Guns

Donald Platt

86 pages
Purdue University Press
“Language, not / geography / is where we live,” says the insomniac poet at 4:00 A.M., flipping through all the different stations – grand opera, pop, and punk rock – on his radio. In the listening area that is this first collection of poems, Donald Platt tunes in the dissonances of his own and others' lives. Whatever their occasions, stopping at a roadside fruit stand in Georgia, a retarded brother learning to speak, childhood on a midwestern farm, a grandmother's quilts, thumbing through the Gideon Bible in a cheap motel, the long algebraic equation of springtime in Virginia, these poems possess – as Mark Rudman has observed – an enviable roughness of language, which captures the abrasiveness of the world as it impinges and presses down on consciousness.”

Using liturgical echoes and rhythm shoplifted wholesale from his upbringing as a preacher’s son, the poet mixes the visionary and the vulgar to create poems in which Mozart and billboards, Emily Dickinson and fake Rococo cuckoo clocks, the nature of God and rush-hour traffic on I-95, all coincide. Even while bearing witness to the chronic sorrows of the world, the poet finds rapture. He imagines how his unborn child will “come kicking / into the blinding / searching of sunlight, to add its own wails to the sum / of all the other / cries, which are the only praise there is.” This book is half cry, half psalm.