Blurbs, a mash-up in found language

by Robert Black

Absolutely stunning, a testament to the vintage, the terroir,
and the winemaker’s delicate hand.
Has the gift, rarer all the time, of taking on serious subjects
without becoming soggy or sententious.

Delicious beyond description:
this is what inspiration looks like when it’s caught in the act—
an exploration, intense and riveting,
[that] reaches for nothing less than the great themes of loss and death.

A major new work from one of America's most acclaimed younger poets
big, dark, and full bodied,
balanced between acids and tannins, the stoical and the sentimental;
gorgeous, devastatingly good,
but also too young and fresh now to show its best.

The interplay of oak with fruit yields richer notes of milk chocolate
hyperbole and humility,
at once relishing and resisting the poetic traditions of formal English verse;
this articulate young wine should be best
at the intersection of confession and confinement.

The sound of words transformed into the highest of arts
bursts in the mouth with mushu plum sauce
and marvelous feral notes of mushrooms, minerals
hung meat, forest spices and herbs,
giving it a brooding quality
that instills in the reader an exalted understanding of beauty,
suffering, and, ultimately, the human capacity for empathy.

What’s so wonderful is the way it reconciles all sorts of opposites:
rhymes and iambs construct their music
against the edgy, recognizable world the poems inhabit—
dry but sweet in fruit, delicate yet potent—
shame and brave human persistence,
the landscape of birth and of dying, sorrow and sex;
totally accessible now, but enormously complex.

A theoretical blend of Puligny Montrachet and California,
where George Herbert is only a few pages away from Allen Ginsberg,
possessing the minerality and good crisp acidity of the former
and the viscous texture and full throttle of the latter,
these agonizingly naked direct verses address
the inexorable encroachment of mortality.

Robert Black is a retired public health scientist who at last has time to pursue the second greatest love of his life. He lives and writes in a log cabin on twenty-two acres of rural Rutherford County, North Carolina with the greatest love of his life, Michele. Robert’s work has appeared in Oh, Georgia! and The Great Smokies Review.

About Blurbs—Years ago, while perusing a pile of literary magazines over a glass of wine, I was struck by a curious symmetry between the blurbs in publishers’ ads for new works of poetry and blurbs in publications aimed at wine aficionados. This poem is a collection of those blurbs.