Rosary Made of Air, by Joseph Massey. Book report #23 (2022)

Rosary Made of Air, by Joseph Massey. Pub 2022.

I was led to this book through the circuit of poets and artists and other writers that I follow on Twitter (remarkable that Twitter can be a coming together rather than a sundering). Brief snippets of poems and insightful comments intrigued me and felt like gifts of little bursts of light, and when I read that this book was self-published after several years of difficulty for the poet, I was moved to support it by buying and reading it. I’m glad that I did.

A spare book of even sparer poems, Massey has a remarkable gift for expressing in words the sound and light of the world around him, especially the natural or solitary, and incorporates elements of the sacred with incredible subtlety. He refers to the sounds of nature as, “…language refusing to become speech.” but something he continues to listen to, and try to describe and express:

…Swallows lift off
all at once from the power line
and the sound is singular, a gasp,
a sheet of thick paper torn fast. 

The poems are also self-aware, recognizing the poet’s presence and effort to generate them:

The sound of the pencil
writing the sound
of the rain. 

Also, the circular complexion of the world of words being reflected in nature and vice versa:

Hay bales tied tight in a field
spaced evenly apart
like phrases
toward an unfinished sentence.

Massey also contributed a piece to this compilation about America for the 4th of July. Again, his light touch and evocative imagery bring that time and place to life with a warm nostalgia.

Massey publishes regularly on his blogs and website, and on Twitter, and I look forward to enjoying more of him in those virtual spaces and in future books.

Fate: I’ll be hanging on to this slim book for my poetry shelf of honour :-).

4 – a book published in 2021/2022
22 – a book of poetry
25 – a new author to me
30 – a book about philosophy/religion

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