In trying to expand my reading genres I decided to read and review a book of modern poetry quite recently. My only previous reading experience of poetry beyond those of my school days has been that of the war poets, namely Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen, and more recently, that of friend and fellow blogger Tom Benson, whose works I’ve previously reviewed on here.
Among some of the blogs I follow is that of Dean J. Baker, and having read and often enjoyed a lot of his work (though not always fully appreciated, often having to read through previous comments for some of the meaning – my understanding and appreciation of poetry still being somewhat limited), I thought I’d jump in at the deep end read/review his book, ‘Silence Louder Than A Train’, for no other reasons than the title and liking the cover (possibly something to do with working in the railway industry – I know, totally illogical, and no, the book has nothing to do with trains or the railway). Whilst still being no expert, I did nonetheless enjoy it for the greater part.
(Available in print & eBook formats from Amazon and from Dean J. Baker’s blog)
The title alone is enough to pique the reader’s interest. Who among us cannot remember a time when silence alone didn’t ring in our ears as loud as thunder?
This anthology by Dean J. Baker is as diverse in style as it is in its subject matter. One of the aspects I liked most was the complete absence of predictability; written in two parts, the author writes of love and its tribulations, of the noble and often not-so-noble aspects of the human condition, of the turmoil of the creative process, and of his views and opinions of life and the people and society about him.
In terms of style, in some of the poems there is only the slightest and almost imperceptible homage to rhyme and alliteration, and yet it’s there nonetheless. In others he simply allows the words themselves to speak their meaning, almost in seeming abandonment of traditional poetic verse and structure – and still it works.
If all the reader is looking for in a poetry anthology are the poetic ramblings of someone trying to impress with their command of language or a gently rolling stream of consciousness then this probably isn’t it; but for poignant and thought provoking insight and new ideas, one would be hard pressed to do better than Dean J. Baker’s ‘Silence Louder Than A Train.’
A bold and refreshing approach to modern poetry, one that breaks the rules when necessary and yet conforms when it suites. Highly recommended…