Friday, March 13, 2009

Review: Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland by Howie Good
Achilles Chapbook Series

I received Howie Good's chapbook Tomorrowland in the mail just a few days after my mother died in a car crash. Initially I ignored it because it did not contain any alcohol and I had no time for any object that lacked the ability to numb or kill. Eventually I picked it up thinking that it would distract me from my melancholy for a bit. After reading the first poem, "Love, Death, Etc." I flung the wee book across the room and curled myself into a ball on my couch. I was angry at Mr. Good. Solipsistically, I wanted to be the only person capable of understanding my level of pain and he had cleanly disproved that theory in a single page. Some time later I returned to the slim volume and finished it. I am glad that I did.

Good weaves poems into prose (or perhaps it is the other way around) and bends beauty until it breaks. His words describe and elicit agony and love and death (and etc.). He has captured the burning heart of god on the page.

He illuminates the human condition with simple lines like:

“Where we sleep, you know, it isn’t necessarily where we wake up, it all depends on what we dream, my dead mother for example, crisscrossed by the fence, fingers hooked through the diamond shaped links.”


“Quick, send the extruded plastic moon to this address and because the ambulance driver will get lost in the maze of small, unlighted streets, send the moon out for an encore.”


“not knowing what I’ll remember one day or that no one escapes the fire.”

Good plays with words the way a virtuoso plays the strings of some obscure, forgotten instrument. He understands grief and pain and how to express them fully in ways that most poets could only dream.

This is a wonderful and marvelous and painful book.

-Nathan Tyree

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