I'm rarely one to read poetry. It's a literary form that, for the most part, flies right over my head. However, when I was sent this book, I was quite surprised...
First off, the author: Mike Sharpe. For those unaware of who this guy is, he's got quite a resume:
(from the book:)
Mike Sharpe has written widely on economics, politics, and world affairs, and is the author of John Kenneth Galbraith and the Lower Economics. He worked with Senators Humphrey and Javits to draft The Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978 and was economic advisor to Senator Birch Bayh in his bid for the presidency. He is founder and president of M.E. Sharpe publishing company.
Not exatly the kind of person you'd expect to take up verse.
Now, due to the copyright, I can't quote any of the verse, and that leaves me at a disadvantage. I'm rather unused to reviewing the medium, and without citing example, this is gonna be hard...
Overall, it was a quick read. Books of poetry are traditionally brief, and this one, at 107 pages of short verse, is no exception. I was able to finish it off, on the bus ride to work. However, after mulling what I had read, during work, I felt I should give it a second read on the way home. I'm guessing (in my ignorance of such literature,) that this is standard with poetry. Similarly, I'm guessing that unlike narrative, poetry is meant to be pondered, explored, and dwelt upon, because the second reading revealed a lot more than I percieved, at first.
Words, in the medium of poetry, are among the most carefully-chosen, and meticulously wrought, in any variety of literature, and Sharpe is an excellent wordsmith, to say the least. His verse and narrative pierce the veil of "informed" indifference that we all have drawn between our personal selves, and the horrors we see displayed on our viewscreens, every day.
In simple, plain words, Sharpe invites us to examine our character, our perconcieved concepts, our indifference, and our causes. To say that his work is "deep" is an understatement, and faint praise.
Conceptually, Sharpe's observations remind me of Kafka's oft-published aphorisms- short of extraneous verbiage, yet long on truth. In this slim volume, there is enough to engage the mind in ways that books far wider in girth would otherwise leave the reader lacking, and dissapointed.