Splay: to move (things, especially your legs, fingers, etc.) out and apart from each other

A strong word thrown out over the cover of a Rorschach that at times looks like a pelvic bone, an oncoming battleship, antlers or an explosion – and these are just the images my addled mind can bring up. The images of the cover become stronger once you take the time to read Chris McCurry’s debut chapbook. The intimacy that is created through the words allows us to inhabit the space between the characters. In poems like “Tanning” we can laugh at the magic tricks the character uses to make it sunny, an innocent act envelopes us with the energy and the hope that each snap of the fingers might clear away the clouds. In other instances, like when something beautiful is angry, we feel like intruders, like moths caught in the daylight, and try to shrink away as much as our narrator. In the end, the poems leave the reader feeling -as Leigh Anne Hornfeldt noted on the back of the book- splayed, by the mirror that is held up to our own conversations under blankets, by having to work out our own order of operations but, mostly, by the beauty of what we had just read.

That was my Amazon review, in which I think I was very professional and didn’t let personal feeling get involved at all. For my own blog I will tell you that reading this book really was a pleasure, even when the subject matter was not the most pleasant. Chris is one of the best and most active voices, not just in the Lexington literary scene, but he goes out of his way to be a good citizen of the overall literary community.

I usually try to tell myself to exercise some sort of partiality in these things. Like I would tell you that if you like geek stuff read Ready Player One, if you like apocalyptic stories, read Kingdom Come, but for this – if you like words that form phrases, read this book.

Book 4 – the best book with Antlers on the cover that will show up on this, or any list.


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