Unpublished Poems by Broc Rossell

Unpublished Poems by Broc Rossell

Reviews, Vol. 7.4, Dec. 2013
Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-936767-04-5
Perfect bound, 38 pp., $8
Review by Cynthia Reeser

The clumsily titled Unpublished Poems by Broc Rossell is a short collection out from Brooklyn Arts Press. Rossell’s efforts are laudable, but the poems ultimately suffer, overall, from a lack of focus. Many of them employ an effective rhythm but are too often diffuse. Some, like the first in the book, “Sans Maisonnée,” are self-reflective without reaching an effectively meta level:

The end of this poem
Is beyond me
And in this discursion
You have joined yourselves
To an old certainty

The poem continues on in this vein, and there are some effective lines (“bats flow / into the bright failure of themselves”) but the poem never coheres in metaphor or imagery. Another poem, “A Cloud of Faithful Witnesses,” is lovely; the imagery is sustained and focused, but here again, the poem is hindered by the self-referential tendency:

[…] this clerestorial poem
Has no house

The strength of “A Cloud of Faithful Witnesses,” is in its development of the trope of poem as sacred space; however, this would be more effective if delivered in a manner that less prominently featured the “I am a poem” aspect—the bane of slush piles everywhere.

In concept, “My Body Became Eaves” is interesting: body as house (less directly implying body as poem/body of work, house as craft, & c.). But in execution, it is diffuse, and there is little meaning the reader can hold onto:

You are only words
And you need the shore

I approve
No world for me

Not one best atom
No defense to think

I appeared between voices
I’m with less through this

Rossell strikes me as a writer with promise, but one whose work has room to grow. To his publisher’s credit, however, the production aesthetics of the book are appealing: the cover feels and looks like watercolor paper, and the cover art is minimalist and understated.

Memory Future by Heather Aimee O’Neill

Edges by B. P. Greenbaum

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