The Gods As They Are, On Their Planets
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 writing about Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery of Pluto in 1930, or speaking in the voice of a linden tree in Soviet-invaded Prague, these are poems that tell stories and tell them clearly. And when he turns to the hard, real world, in poems about the World Trade Center disaster, or the ages-old invasion of Korea by Japanese warlords, Rutherford writes as a humanist who sees individuals always able to choose between good and evil. 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 (Prometheus on Fifth Avenue is the second half). Take up this book, take a deep breath, and plunge in.