PIECES OF THE SKY by GREG FUCHSPHIL PRIMEAU Reviews
Pieces of the Sky by Greg Fuchs
Pretty Little Things: The Poems of Greg Fuchs
Without a doubt, Pieces of the Sky is one of the smallest chaps you'll read this year. In fact, with only half a dozen poems contained in the pocket-size booklet (6 pages), it may well be the smallest chap you'll ever read.
But, like so many other wonderful things in life and literature, lack of stature is compensated for by fullness of content. Greg Fuchs' poetry is vivid and sly. His work is powerful and, as a certain title confirms, in the "American grain." Written with a clear sense of modesty and prudence, the work immediately brings to mind the Black Mountain School. Fuchs has a sharp eye for icons and archetypes from our collective past; his poems are full of wind, water, Indians, and dusty plains. Talk of "dreams and destiny" cannot help but bring to mind the early roots of a pioneer nation.
But to portray the mini-chap as a collection of nature poems (puke) would be entirely unfair. While Fuchs' meditations on the land and its history are pretty little things, he also knows what's up here and now. He does culture with mentions of Chuck Taylors, suburbs, and your aunt's pearls. He even tackles the state of foreign affairs. I mean, the state of human affairs. Take, for example, "The New Century Haiku", a poem that can be read in half a breath but lingers long after by virtue of its passion and idealism: "Come all ye/ this is your orange/ revolution/ be in the streets." While I think that he's a bit off (it's not time to occupy the streets, it's time to build new ones -- to be new ones), his optimistic allusion to the bloodless "revolution" in Ukraine is certainly timely and sweet.
This poetry is honest. It is readable and relevant. And while the verse is sometimes a bit too simple (there's a thin line between modest and meager), Pieces of the Sky is more than worth the five minutes it takes to finish from front to back. I look forward to reading a fuller gathering of Fuchs' work in the future.
Until then, suck on a few exceptional lines from "Atlanta", my favorite poem from Pieces: "We got high on whippets/ with the novelist's son/ & fell out of love."
Phil Primeau is a writer from Rhode Island. His essays and poetry have been published in a number of online venues and print journals. He is operates PERSISTENCIA and edits Dirt, a 'zine of minimalist poetry and poetics. He can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.