Michael deBeyer,
Change in a Razor-Backed Season
(Gaspereau, 2005)

Shared images and themes connect the poems within each section as well as the sections as a whole in Michael deBeyer's Change in a Razor-Backed Season. These connections and echoes create an arc that culminates in the final poem of the book.

The connection between poems comes to the fore in "Echolalia: The Party," "Echolalia: The Anticipatory" and "Echolalia: The Hallway." Each of these poems pulls very heavily from the poem that precedes it, echoing thought and word. Their titles point to this, as one meaning of "echolalia" is the constant repeating of words (such as how a child learns language). Another meaning is of meaningless constant repetition, but the subsequent echoes build upon the starting point and alter it slightly thereby adding to it each time.

Sound provides some of the images and themes that are repeated though the poems, as do the moments and gaps between. The book ends with a poem that juxtaposes end and beginning, leaving you in that moment to transition.

The poems open and unfold, revealing the beauty and wonder as they progress. The poems are not about answers, save when an answer leads to more questions. In this lies the strength of Change in a Razor-Backed Season. Michael deBeyer's poems expand outward to embrace the reader, to show them the moment and the echoes of the moment. The simple repetitions of a phone ringing and the pause between rings become moments of wonder and revelation.

review by
Paul de Bruijn

31 May 2008

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