Review: Illinois, My Apologies

Review: Illinois, My Apologies

by Rose Auslander

Illinois, My Apologies was the first book I read in 2011.  And now I know, this is going to be a good year.  A very good year.  If I have anything to do with it, this will be the year we’ll all read Justin Hamm the way we’ve read the Walt Whitman who wanders into his title poem.  And the Midwest will scratch its jaw, but then welcome us in gunshot syllables to its belching smokestacks and churning rivers, where” becoming / is . . . forbidden,” but “. . . the gentle turning / of son to father / and son to father / have yet to be forbidden.”

I lived a few years in Iowa — and by the time I left, the thirsty soil had leached away most anything I’d ever wanted to say.  So I admire those who do “pretty good — / or as good as can be expected / anyway . . .” and hang onto their:

“Yup-n-mmm-hmm vernacular
punctuated with inscrutable
handkerchief dabbing gestures
and carefully selected grunts . . .”

It’s taken years for my words to seep back to me.  And I’ver never found any for our heartland’s “. . . beautiful lie about death” that, in time, turns into “the heartless monster / called healing.”

Fortunately, Justin Hamm has.

-this review refers from Justin Hamm’s contributor page

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