Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems 1971-2012

By Bruce Boston

Dark Renaissance Books, 2013

ISBN 13: 978-1-937128-90-6 ISBN 10: 1-937128-90-3

Reviewed by Eden Royce

It’s rare that I come across the opportunity to review poetry. Even rarer for me to find: the dark, moody sort that transports you to a lonely house on a hill.  Where it’s raining. And you’re alone. With this collection.

Where do I begin with Dark Roads?

The stunningly realistic artwork by M. Wayne Miller dotted throughout this collection is such an asset to this poetry.  It gives an added depth to each poem that is fortunate enough to have visual accompaniment. The image that opens this book “In the Darkened Hours” is reflective, in both image and mood. And it mirrors the balance of light and shadow that Boston presents to us in this collection.

The poems are presented in chronological order from the oldest to the newest.  And I could see a progression, a morphing of Boston’s style and theme. Don’t worry, this isn’t the poetry you had to read in school and dig out the symbolism.

You won’t need to dig or decipher. It’s there, waiting for you to notice its seductive manner.

My favorites:

“The Walnut Dark Sea is Blooming Swiftly”: Undulating, swaying, sloshing words reminded me of ocean waves. Gentle repetition like water lapping at the shore. Reminding us that the sea is always there, watching the blood and bones and destruction we create.

“The Stardrifter Grounded”: The tale of a space traveler past his prime. It appeals to the sci-fi geek in me.

“The Lesions of Genetic Sin” and “Pavane for a Cyber-Princess”: Darkly sexual imagery

Oh, and there are a few poetic studies in Dark Roads as well.  Apparently, not only are there “Thirteen Ways to Look at a Vulture”, but also “Thirteen Ways of Looking at and through Hashish”.

Something I have always done with poetry (even in school) is choose the best line in the collected works of a poet. The one that resonates with me the deepest. In Dark Roads, that line can be found in “The Mutant Lovers” – So come my beauty, my horror, for us the night will hold.

Because well… I’m a  romantic.

Recommended for lovers of poetry, imagery, and quick dark reads.

About Eden Royce

Eden Royce is a Freshwater Geechee from Charleston, South Carolina, now living in the English countryside. Her stories have appeared in several online and print magazines and she is a Bram Stoker contributing finalist to the anthology Sycorax’s Daughters. Find her at edenroyce.com and on Twitter @edenroyce.

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