Thursday, August 23, 2012

Poetry Review: On the Brink of Never

On the Brink of Never, compiled by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, is a collection of apocalyptic poetry written by various authors: Kopaska-Merkel himself, Jennifer Schwabach, Jaime Lee Moyer, Marcie Lynn Tentchoff, Terrie Leigh Relf, Marsheila Rockwell and Samantha Henderson.

Do you have any idea how many ways the "world" can end or when? And what happens afterwards? These questions are explored in this slim volume and each poem brings a little surprise. This is the blurb:

The ancient Maya had a rich mythology. Their religious beliefs included the notion that the world would end on December 21, 2012. For reasons best known to themselves, hordes of modern folk have converted to this ancient religion. If belief sustains the existence of gods, as some have suggested, then perhaps it also sustains the validity of prophecy. I hope not. Because if belief alone can make prophecy real, millions and millions of lapsed Abrahamic religionists may have doomed the rest of us to extinction along with themselves. Nice going guys! In a spirit of hopelessness and despair, engendered by the realization that a boatload of gullible fools are taking us with them into oblivion, we offer the following tribute. I don't know what day you bought this book, but just in case: read fast!
~ David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Terra, Year N-2

The authors form a group, encouraged by Mikal Trimm (strangely absent among those represented in the collection), called the Hitting the Muse group. As explained in the Foreword, they encourage one another to write and give critique to hone their craft. Most of the poems collected are a direct result of this fellowship.

Gathered within is an apocalyptic lullaby (the earth will moan / and scream, my loveling, / and heave, and crack / in fissures deep), a love testament (And we stand together / As we always have, / Watching while the sky falls.), the sun personified (My birth spawned yours; likewise, my death / Our love began with an explosion), the olympic gods (London, 2012 / Apollo's first arrow took out / The entire upper tier / Of Lord's Grand Stand), quite realistic blame laying (We’ve fouled our nest for centuries, / Done exactly as we please, / Our misdeeds now have come to bite us), zombies (and I exhaled with relief, / believing the zombie infestation / had devoured the entire chorus.), remembering what's important (Your daughter's last ballet recital, ... Your son's first real "grownup" party), extinction on another planet (Rescue is not / Coming, not now / Too far away / Supplies short), death by comet (It missed us by more than 200,000 miles. / Missed us, but hit the moon), post-apocalyptic life ("Reality bites," I think, but don't say / while a few folks share stale peanut butter)(They say, "remember," / and I try to see the world's / ending through the eyes of people / like my parents, who survived.) and many, many more.

Some favorites of mine include "Fate" by Jaime Lee Moyer, "The Sun God Bids
Farewell to His Lover" and "When the Comet Came" by Marsheila Rockwell, naturally "The Sign Read: Post-Apocalyptic Choir Seeking New Members" by Terrie Leigh Relf, "Spring" by Jennifer Schwabach, David C. Kopaska-Merkel's "Keepin' On" and "A Wink Of The
Further Eye", and Marcie Lynn Tentchoff's "Remembrance Day".

There are serious poems and touching poems, poems to ponder and poems to chuckle over (amazingly), so there is something for everyone, I dare say. I received a .pdf version of this for review, so I can say nothing about the physical volume.

You can purchase a hard copy of On the Brink of Never at Alban Lake and at Smashwords in ebook format.



Corvus Press UK said...

I love the sound of this book. I like the idea of apocalyptic poetry, reminds me of all that good consciousness roots reggae. You have an interesting blog.

Diane Severson said...

Why, thank you! And I'm glad you're discovering more SF Poetry!