ALL. THE. FEELS.
Some collections make you want to flip over a table because they are just so.damn.good. For weeks, the poems in Jeffrey McDaniel’s The Endarkenment clung to me. I could not put this collection down. I carried it everywhere I went. I read a poem from it to everyone I knew, whether or not they enjoyed poetry (I can be annoying and persistent like that). I wanted to scream “IF YOU DO NOT LIKE POETRY, READ THIS.” His words are explosive, funny, and raw. There is so much character in the speaker, and so many surprising images that will light a fire inside of you.
For example, the poem “Boner Etiquette” is way too amusing and funny not to share:
Please: be kind to boners. Nothing
ruins an evening quicker than catching
a glimpse of a demoralized boner
sobbing into his foreskin. Remember
the boner is always half full. Most
boners sleep upside down in caves,
ready to flutter into the world
at the drop of a bra strap. Boners
move in packs—rarely will you see one
wandering alone in a train station.
Look closer and you’ll usually find
a second boner bobbing nearby. But
it’s the lone boner, the Oswald boner,
you must watch out for. Whatever
you do, don’t challenge it. Don’t
stare it directly in the eye
It’s not likely that you’ll forget this collection. Although many of the poems, even the gloomier ones in the collection, utilize some form of humor, the poems have a lot to say about family and the day-to-day craziness of existing in this world. The last section of the book is also filled with satirical commentary about American politics (read “The Real Dick Cheney”).
In one of my favorite poems, McDaniel characterizes sadness: “Here, / my petite clump of misery, I mutter, hop / onto my lap. Up. Up . . . “ (“Little Sadness,” lines 9-11).
Other poems in the collection I really enjoyed are “The Quicksand Hourglass,” “Air Empathy,” and “The Endarkenment.” The thing about this collection that I love is that there isn’t one consistent emotion woven throughout. I found myself crying and laughing at different points in the book. Every poem moves you in a different way. It’s a highly emotional collection, but not in ways that you would expect.
What originally warmed me up to this book is the cover. It’s a cat sketch (read: CAT), but the cat only has one of its eyes (frowny face).
I had the opportunity to do a short email interview with McDaniel. Check it out here.
Order The Endarkenment from the Pitt Poetry Series here.
(Photos courtesy of the Pitt Poetry Series)