Sunday, August 26, 2012

support KSE

from Bill Shute -

"Good to have John Sweet back at KSE for another poetry chapbook. Mr. Sweet, working out of south-central New York state, has been a kind of quiet warrior in the contemporary poetry world, eschewing the usual self-delusional self-promotion and the laughable “outlaw” posing of so many who use attitude to compensate for lack of talent. Sweet’s work speaks well for itself—no hype or backstory is needed to prop it up.

Simply put, John Sweet’s poems are terse, finely sculpted, razor-sharp pieces that capture the violence and illness under the surface of contemporary life. On the level of the intimate relationship, the family, the community, the nation, the world—Sweet presents closely observed episodes, full of tension at the level of the phrase and the line and the stanza, and sets them up like spring-loaded traps. This new collection of eight poems, BRAVE RETREAT, examines many subjects: families who talk but don’t communicates, the burning secrets inside those closest to us that never come out until too late, the bleakness of Rust Belt America, the futility of overseas military adventures as we surrender to forces we don’t understand on the home front, the burning need to create and to change and the ways those with that need are snuffed out by society or simply suffocated by marginalization. And it’s all presented in the form of specifics and precise details with not a wasted or flaccid word—the precision of a Cid Corman, the caustic understatement of a Samuel Beckett, but in a natural contemporary American voice. Though I don’t believe Mr. Sweet is a poet who does many readings, there is an exciting sense of drama and pacing captured on the page that makes it seem as if the poems are being read to you dramatically by an actor with great subtlety but capable of great menace—think Willem Dafoe or the early Christopher Walken. This is the America of 2012, and it’s the melodrama of life in any period. No one captures the pain, the stepped-on and discarded dreams, the way John Sweet does.

The new poetry chapbook from JOHN SWEET, “Brave Retreat” (KSE #216)…scalding shards of verse from this master craftsman, pieces found broken and abandoned on the internal battlefields of contemporary America…from the author of Human Cathedrals, Continuum, and This Moment Reflected In Ice…proud to have him back for another KSE chapbook…fads come and go, but John Sweet remains a constant, the real thing in a world of posers and dilettantes…."

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