Gary Glauber’s poetry collection “Small Consolations” may, at first blush, seem a bit tame when compared to recent collections that have set the world of poetry agog. In a twelve-month span that welcomed such offerings as Claudia Rankine’s genre-defying poetry collection “Citizen,” the fluid memory poems of Saeed Jones’ “Prelude to Bruise,” and the haunting untamed animalism of Simone Muench’s “Wolf Centos,” Glauber’s assiduously crafted poems evince a wistful, guarded sensibility.
Like a bare-chested, clean-skinned preppy moshing at Lollapalooza among the sweat-glazed crush of tattooed punks and skinheads who buck every rule, “Small Consolations” harbors great lust, longing and energy, yet it knows that boundaries do not always impede creativity; they often inspire it.
Glauber’s work straddles the worlds of poetry and prose with measured assurance and trust in the messages he seeks to transmit to readers. “Small Consolations” concerns itself with the lost and found, the imagined and the all-too-real. Divided into four sections, the collection plumbs the depths of longing and remembrance as its various speakers struggle to make sense of both loneliness and togetherness, of a zeitgeist where relationships seem to be as disposable as a two-year-old iPhone. The collection’s panoply of themes align in “Fix-it Shop,” where Glauber’s talent for detail and observation unite with theme and tone to create a poem fitting for our disposable age: “This disposable economy that replaces, not repairs,/ has little need for those fix-it guys and their skills./ Had any of us known where this world was headed,/ perhaps we would have stopped and,/ shielding eyes against the noonday sun,/ glimpsed through that dusty plate-glass storefront/ to watch a master in thick glasses, attend to his work.”
Replete with inner rhyme, a keen awareness of the weight of diction and lines, and the careful planning of a storyteller, Glauber’s poems are stippled with gems of poetic artistry. Yet despite its gifts, the collection comes across as a bit out of step with the bursts of wordplay and passion that have come to define our current poetic moment. Still, these are poems that take the time to do what we all should do—stop, look and listen. (Jarrett Neal)
By Gary Glauber
Aldrich Press, 114 pages, $17