Prometheus on Fifth Avenue
Poetry is dangerous, and few poets are more hazardous to complacency than Brett Rutherford. Who would have guessed that poetry — America’s most-avoided art — could come roaring back in a big, wide-ranging book of provocative, understandable, beautiful poems? This book may change how you think about poetry. Praised by Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury for his dark and supernatural poetry — of which there is a good chunk in this book — this poet is also much more than a master of the macabre. His autumn poems, and other writings centered on nature, astronomy, and the human place in the cosmos, are heir to the grand tradition of such diverse masters as Shelley, Whitman, Hugo and Jeffers. Although the poems are mostly free in form, they are striking in language and Romantic in spirit. Whether contrasting the heroic statue of Prometheus in Rockefeller Center with the gloomy Gothic pile of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, listening in on the bitter arguments between Prometheus and his tormenter Zeus, or speaking in the voice of the doomed Queen Jocasta, these are works that tell stories and tell them clearly. A set of poems from the poet’s childhood and young years in Pennsylvania, provokes the reader to re-think “imaginary playmates,” to re-live the anguish of doomed obsessions, and to revel in tree, forest, lake, and graveyard in his “first-found home.” Another sequence of love poems are sad, astronomical, haunted, and transcendental, culminating in the challenging poem “Triptych.” This book, containing poems written or revised between 1991 and 2004 in New York City and in Providence, RI, first appeared in 2005, released simultaneously in print and as a free PDF download. More than 15,000 copies were distributed to a world-wide audience. In this new, second edition, the poet has revised a number of the poems, and split the book into two parts (The Gods As They Are, On Their Planets is the first half.) Take up this book, take a deep breath, and plunge in.