on July 19, 2012
Peter Blair has a flair for place and profoundness. I felt as if I walked with him in Thailand. Each description is so rich with color, each conflict with natives so jarring that I felt I was seeing the land through his eyes, feeling the punches through his skin. In one poem he can present the environment, a scene, a moment in a regular day, and somehow in the end hit us with something profound. A realization that ties everything together, a detail that spins us from the comfortable path he had guided us along. Sometimes, sections were titled after a singular poem. That poem usually provides a greater impact than the others in the collection, something to keep us pondering its implications or the events. The title of the book, in particular, conveys not only a poem within the collection, but also the overall sensation of his experience. No matter how long he is in Thailand, no matter if he calls it home, he will always be a "farang," a foreigner. And so would we. What he experiences, we would encounter as well if we were there. In a way, I want to go where he went, see what he saw, but in another way, I already have through his rich poetry.