Monday, February 27, 2006

Pax Atomica

Just read Campbell McGrath's 2004 collection, Pax Atomica. Holy crap, that was a fun read -- not usually one's first reaction to a book of poetry, eh? I read his Florida Poems a couple of years ago and appreciated it, but I wasn't right there with it, because I've never set foot in the state of Florida. But Pax Atomica is all about growing up in a world of seventies rock, where you love Springsteen and Led Zeppelin and you don't let on that you kinda like Ted Nugent, where you watch Tom Snyder and the late late show before the TV station plays the National Anthem and goes off the air, where the world is full of the tacky crazy things that people make and yet "We build the human heart / and lock it in its chest / and hope that what we have made can save us." And in the end, even though everyone knows John Lennon is dead, there's still a kind of salvation we can find while listening to Guns'n'Roses and grieving for our own personal dead. I recognize so much in these poems and I felt myself nodding my head and (metaphorically speaking) slapping my steering wheel & singing along.

I got this one out of the library, but it's going on the "buy me" list -- and now I am really looking forward to his reading Thursday night.


Chicago Library Boy said...

Hey -- I picked up Pax Atomica a few weeks ago too. When I browse the poetry section in either a bookstore or library, I always know the feeling I get when I read certain lines or poems that tells me if I don't take the thing, it will haunt me, and I will forget who it was, and regret it. Well that was one of them. What a great book! The other one of his I read is Spring Comes to Chicago, I haven't seen the Florida Poems. I love his stuff though.

Anne said...

Definitely check out Florida Poems -- it's good stuff!