ARC Review: Sun & Urn by Christopher Salerno

Sun & Urn by Christopher Salerno

Publication: February 15th 2017 by University of Georgia Press

Format: eBook Pages: 80

ISBN13: 9780820350486

Christopher Salerno s fourth collection of poems, Sun & Urn, is a book made from the wild stuff of grief and loss. Readers will find in these lyric poems a peculiar force pushing beyond the obvious. Sad, tender, whimsical, this book mines the poet s personal journey through grief for a universal look at how we as human beings handle our greatest losses. Coursing through this work is the clarity of vulnerability. With an idiosyncratic and inquisitive lyricism, Sun & Urn examines, repositions, and makes art from the odd scraps left over after a father’s sudden death, from infertility and divorce, and from the hope of new love.” – Goodreads 

Salerno’s poetry touched heavily on his late father and so it was focused on grief and loss. Technically, the poems were interesting, the generous use of enjambment sometimes gave the impression of a fleeting thought, or demonstrated the poet’s struggle to vocalise and explain his feelings and his scattered mind. At other times, I thought the technique was ineffective, it only made reading the poetry difficult.

Other topics included in this collection of poetry include infertility and divorce. I was most confused by these poems as I couldn’t detect emotion behind them, the impression I got was of repetitive disappointment but the reaction seemed more tired and bored than anything else. Perhaps that’s what the Salerno intended, or I might have missed something, either way, I wasn’t drawn into any of these poems.

There are frequent references to being childless in the poems. In ‘In Vitro’, he mentions a lullaby called ‘Father Of No One’, in ‘In Medias Res’ he claims:

‘Forty turns mother-
hood off. Death to all
that kid-shaped contour.’

And in ‘Late Style’, he notes, ‘I have no children of my own.’ The sense of longing is evident from the repetition throughout the collection, but I didn’t feel anything. The poems didn’t evoke any emotional reactions from me and I couldn’t connect with most of them, which is why I was let down by the collection overall.

I was sent Sun & Urn by the publisher for an honest review.
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