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Resonance Dark & Light Paperback – March 12, 2015
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"What is most impressive about Bruce Boston's work is not simply that his writings range across the genre spectrum of SF, fantasy, horror, and mystery - it's the way his marvelous application of words pull together and weave the disparate elements of genre shadings into a cohesive whole." - Steven Hampton, The Zone
From the Back Cover
Resonance Dark & Light brings together 52 previously uncollected poems from SFPA Grandmaster Bruce Boston, ranging from horror to science fiction, with stops along the way for poems surreal, ekphrastic, and mainstream. Includes the winner of the 2013 Balticon Poetry Award, reprints from Analog, Asimov's SF, New Myths, Jamais Vu, and other leading genre publications, and seven poems appearing here for the first time.
"In the tradition of traveling bards whose lyrics could inspire dreams, Boston extends the literary tradition of our most celebrated poets. The monsters in our nightmares have been named by Boston's genius, with imagery that teaches that horror and surrealism are beautiful and eternal. He is the poet laureate of horror, a bard whose words shall linger long in the minds of those who read him." --Vincenzo Bilof, author of The Horror Show
"There are popular poets everyone loves to read, literary poets whose words refine the artistic goals of the present, speculative poets who embody the essence of sf and fantasy, horror poets that raise the smoke ghosts of the 21rst Century, but as far as I know Bruce Boston is the only poet of excellence who covers all of these bases. In the last thirty years I've been reading him, his words have never failed to enchant and delight me." --Don Webb, author of Through Dark Angles
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There are themes and groupings within the larger set of poems, most notably the dozen Music poems spaced throughout the book. Of this particular subset, my favorite is "The Music of the Stars," which sings to the heart of this science fiction reader. Of the realistic poems, I am partial to "Living in a World of Giants" and the poignant "Halloween Hunchback."
Of the more surreal entries, "Surreal Shopping List" takes a clever conceit and executes it brilliantly, as exemplified by the opening entry in the shopping list:
the autobiography of a trellis
"Noir People" is moody and atmospheric, its last stanza especially powerful.
Of the horror poems, I loved how strangeness combined with humor in "The Envy of Every Demon." Though manifestly fantastical, "The Curse of the Procrustean's Wife" speaks to real-world horrors. It lingered with me after I'd read it with lines such as:
as he delimits her needs
and defines her desires,
the smaller she becomes.
These lines also illustrate how Bruce Boston attends to sound, even though he rarely uses straight rhyme.
In the borderland where horror and science fiction overlap lies "In the Quiet Hour," which opens with a subtly sinister atmosphere and progresses to a terrifying conclusion. In the lighter shades of science fiction are "Marie Antoinette, 2125" and "Chrononaut Inductees." The former being an inspired work of brevity, the latter a work of greater length and moments of genius, such as this option for what to do when you spot a butterfly back in the far distant past:
a. step on it and kill it. How much difference can one dead
butterfly in the Eocene make?
This is a very fine collection.
Resonance Dark & Light contains fifty-two poems. Many of these have been published in poetry magazines around the world, although several are new. Several are also award winning pieces, such as “The Music of the Stars,” which won the 2013 Balticon Poetry Award. Such is the quality of all these pieces, however, that the award winners don’t generally call any special attention to themselves among the other fine works. An exception to this, for me, is “Surreal Shopping List,” which won the SFPA’s 2014 Dwarf Form (under 11 lines) Category. I don’t know that this is my favorite Bruce Boston poem ever, but it’s my favorite right now. It seems so deceptively simple as well, and yet I’ve been trying—without succeeding—for a month now to produce even a semblance of its “coolness.”
I don’t know that it was Boston’s intent, but I felt like the first poems in this collection were more light-hearted than much of the previous stuff I’ve read from him. The pieces then turned darker, and darker, before lightening up again toward the end. It felt much like the passing of day into night and back to day, or perhaps like the progression of the seasons. The title itself suggests such a passage.
All I really know is that Resonance Dark & Light, tickled me, chilled me, and set me to thinking. Ranging from the Bradburyesque imagery of “The Music of Skeletons,” and “Chrononaut Inductees,” to the science fiction terrors of “Tasty Horrors,” to the sheer fun of “Not Only Thoats,” to the impossible to categorize pieces like “Surreal Shopping List,” this collection is hard to pigeonhole but impossible not to enjoy. For more information about Bruce Boston and his work, you can also check out his website, www.bruceboston.com
And just remember, “not only thoats need the warm dark.”
I reviewed this title in full for Amazing Stories Magazine and 3 full poems are included in audio. http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2015/04/...