A Sparrow Came Down ResplendentA Sparrow Came Down Resplendent by Stuart Ross
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

right from the opening poem, it is clear that this is a more subdued and melancholy collection than expected from the lovably goofy stuart ross who throws around the word “boner” and makes adorably lo-tech book trailers.


And my mother is on the balcony
and my father is making cheese sandwiches
and my mother is writing a letter
that my father will discover
two months later in their bedroom
in Toronto, the morning
we’re to bury her.

she writes that
she is on the balcony
and he is making cheese sandwiches
and she says she feels treasured
and if ever there are grandkids
tell them she’d’ve loved them

and in five years my brother
dies in my sobbing father’s arms
and my father one year after
and I cannot find the letter
my mother wrote in Pompano
but I remember the word treasured
it’s how she felt, she said

and palm trees sway in the hot breeze
and butterflies called daggerwings drift past
and sand skinks swim through millions of grains of sand
and I – I am a pompano
I am this fork-tailed fish
I am this fish and I search
for that letter in my mother’s hand
beyond the Atlantic coast

i mean, phoar.

it’s definitely a meditative collection, heavy on the preoccupation with nostalgia and happier memories during experiences of illness and death, but it’s not morbid or gloomy, just…mature. which is the opposite of a bad thing, and it just goes to show that stu’s got range and an expressive depth of emotional accessibility that is truly lovely.

there is some beautiful imagery here:

His veins are made of thread.

and some intriguing phrasings:

When I opened my eyes.,
everyone became
very emotional
all at once.

and it’s not entirely without humorthe poem titled HELLO, I’M A POEM ABOUT JOHNNY CASH starts out funny, although it does not end on a laughing note.

there are many shout-outs to other poets, and some riffs on their work, including one of my own favorite poets in the poem titled:


can you guess who the poet i like is??? hmmmm???

it’s a very striking collection, and i highly recommend it to you folks who like real poetry where real thoughts and feelings are articulated in a thoughtful and precise way intended to elicit a reaction of recognition or strike an emotional chord in a reader
and not
teen angst
in garbage words
written like this
on tumblr.

also, the paper is really nicely textured. so there’s that.

read my book reviews on goodreads

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