Book Review: Death Throes of the Broken Clockwork Universe
Reviewed by Joshua Ryan Bligh
Spare, quiet, gossamer. Hubbard’s collection condenses a decade of life into the blink of an eye.
A poetry collection in two parts, Death Throes of the Broken Clockwork Universe by Wayne David Hubbard is the culmination of ten years pared down to a bite-sized exploration of two of humanity’s favorite themes: love and time.
In the few dozen poems, Hubbard plays with tone and style, creating a poetry spectrum that carves a window though which we are given fleeting permission to peek into the author’s life and thoughts over the past decade.
With Death Throes of the Broken Clockwork Universe, you are given the unique chance to soar across a decade of life in the time it takes for a pot to boil. In that pocket of time, you are given access to a playful yet restrained style that adapts from one poem to the next, providing a consistency of character while exploring variations tailored to the individual poem.
This fluidity of form and style is one of the collection’s strengths, namely in how each poem’s presentation and theme moves in tandem, its technical aspects and content complementing each other quite seamlessly, creating a pleasing synthesis. In other words, the poems go down smooth.
Reading through Death Throes with the knowledge of the timespan it covers makes for a curious effect. One feels that each poem, as brief as it is, has invisible strings spread out across years of the author’s life, serving simultaneously as a culmination of various experiences over the decade in the moment of the poem, though some succeed in this effect more than others. More than once, a poem seems to end before its time, imparting a few of the pieces of a more fragmented sense, like slivers of meaning and thought scattered along a path to an unknown destination. While this contributes to the light and transitory feel of the collection, it does leave me wanting now and then, hungry for a heartier morsel.
Experiencing this collection is akin to moving through the quiet isles of an art exhibition, welcoming you to spend as much time as you like with each piece, undemanding and relaxed. You are given the space to enjoy the aspects that align with your tastes and preferences without having to sift for them. So while some of these poems did not strike home for me, I never needed to trudge through them to reach the gems that I enjoyed, hence when I came across a poem that resonated with my own experience, I could greet it with fresh and ready eyes, savoring it.
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Print Length: 68 pages
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