Part threnody of a wren, part daybook, part travelogue, part paean to energy, but all poem, the lines of this collection reel out, a manic strand of DNA from an ancient fly-casting rod, bent on catching a new kind of animal in the deeps of Kuzma’s soul. Part Memory of Times Past, part Seven Storey Mountain, part Dark Night of the Soul, part Trout Fishing in America, part Song of Myself, the poems in this collection could only have been written by one poet—Greg Kuzma.
One reads these long-limbed poems like a sparrow starting out in the branches of the tallest fir trees of the Adirondacks, hopping down limb by line to the wisdom grains and seed trove on the ground, spying all along the branches treasures magical as Christmas. Like branches of the great trees in the forests of Kuzma’s youth, each poem’s lines interlock with the next so that before long, if it were not for the sure and steady hand of your poet guide, you would begin to feel lost as you stumble somehow into the land of the Brothers Grimm—where a spectral father issues commands from the dark oily space below an engine; creamily glowing coins tempt a little boy into criminal acts; and the Beauty the hero has married coaxes the pale quivering child out of the Beast, who turns out to be the poet’s uncle.
Greg Kuzma lives in the synapse between experience and emotion, in the clench of the teeth before thought, in the ragged and raging moments we each are blessed enough to call our own but few have the courage to call out into the light, and in the thought that traces them into these majestic lines. Rare is the work of art that inspires one to reflect, I wish I could live my life differently. I wish I could burn to live like this poet. I wish I could be half so alive. The book that shimmers in your hands is one of those.