Revolutions Aug04


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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

I asked a friend that works at Barnes & Nobel to suggest a few books by Pittsburgh authors, and she recommended a novel in B&N’s poetry section, Revolutions, by Justin Calderone.  I have a passing interest in poetry, but I am trying to broaden my palate, so I purchased Revolutions.

What a great find!

Revolutions isn’t the dry, obtuse poetry we were forced to read in high school. It’s like listening to a concept album, minus the music. Think Jim Morrison, Jack Kerouac or Eddie Vedder, not Shakespeare, Keates and Marlowe. This is rock n’ roll poetry about a rough two years in Calderone’s life. And it’s all there; love (both won and lost), God, hurts, hang-up, desolation. The nakedness of the writing goes directly to Calderone’s heart, and I felt as though I was going through the situation with him as I read each poem.

Here’s one of my favorites:

This time out
I will love
The loss of life
And the smile at the end
This time out
I will love
The person I will myself to
If I sit alone by night
And wonder where the world
I will swallow myself
In the hunger of life
I saw you a million times
In every star
And streetlight
And how I fight
To open my eyes
And be blinded by you again
With the exception of the last poem in the book, Meditation on Finality and Endings, none of the poems in Revolutions are titled. I read the introduction, and Calderone says that he doesn’t title the poems because he doesn’t want to label them. He wants his readers to decide what they are, and what they are about. Without titles, each poem becomes the property of the reader.

Because of the frankness and ease of the language, Revolutions reads like a novel. Calderone is clearly searching for something, the great “something” that everyone wants. It’s unnamable, and unreachable, yet Calderone brings all of us on the trip.

In researching this review, I found Justin Calderone’s blog at The blog says that his next novel LARP: The Battle for Verona, is scheduled for a Spring 2012 release.

Revolutions, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings