We Almost Disappear

Copper Canyon. Aug. 2011. c.65p. ISBN 9781556593314. pap. $16. POETRY
Bottoms (Waltzing Through the Endtime) fits comfortably into the grand Southern literary tradition, with a delightful facility for language and a keen awareness of place, even as he tips and turns both to his own advantage: "Bump and jostle, the road falling fast into rut, ditch, washout,/ pines cuffing the windows, and me in the cab/ a constant bounce between my old man and my uncle/ as we bring up the tail." He writes with a sure yet casual rhythm and an attention to detail, especially locating the significant in the everyday and celebrating the everyday for its own significance. These are intimate, personal poems, much closer to the heart than his earlier collections. In poems for a lost youth, a country of childhood and innocence, we understand how, among the older men of his family, "mostly there was silence, as though they'd all agreed/ the world was beyond comment." The book's last section, featuring poems about Bottoms's father and the hard truth and trials of aging, will be most haunting.
VERDICT Bottoms is again at the top of his game, smart, passionate, and compassionate. This collection will appeal to all readers of contemporary poetry.
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