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What We’re Reading: Ordinary Sun

2011 June 9

Ordinary Sun is an earthly curious collection of poetry by Matthew Henriksen, published by Black Ocean.

The collection is teeming with imagistic poems. “Copse,” the first section, repeats images in smaller untitled poems, recreating a journey through images of bees, jars, a woman figure standing above the speaker, and ravines. Henricksen writes under the influence of the Deep Imagists school of poetry, letting the tactile and direct images (in this case, mostly natural and organic images) create individual meaning for the reader. Henriksen is bitter and jaded in some of the poems (in the poem “Prison Record” he says it all: “My mind tastes bitter this morning”); yet he’s searching for something real in all the muck that is this world, and attempting to find a way to be happy with that through his images. “What we don’t know is our only law” he writes in “Copse.” This is the governing theme throughout, exploring the unknown. The poems resonate with an honest, unflinching beauty. They border on disturbing, tragic, and even violent in places, yet they are full of natural grace and most of all, acceptance.

Henriksen is a co-founder of Typo, the online magazine. And for kicks, here’s a connection you’ll appreciate: Henricksen’s college buddy Tony Tost started Octopus with Zachary Schomburg, who wrote the collaborative poetry collection Feelings Using Wolves, which I reviewed a while back (additional interview with Schomburg and co-author Emily Kendal Frey here).

One Response
  1. timothy permalink
    June 10, 2011

    This collection sounds right up my alley. One of my close writerly friends writes work that sounds very similar to Henriksen’s work – visceral and organic. I’m not sure my strength is in earthy poems, but I enjoy reading them a great deal. This is another for my ever-growing reading list.

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