I admit that I check the awards lists in search of new poets. In this case, I’m glad I did. While the subject of many of his poems – a brother’s suicide – is sometimes overwhelming, Rasmussen’s style is a marvel. Short lines, meaningful enjambment and synesthesia create a poignancy that will leave you breathless. A somewhat random example:
A boat unzips the river / between the houses pinned / to their long shadows.
And the order is meaningful. Rasmussen makes one last effort to reclaim what I am assuming is his brother’s life in “Reverse Suicide” (“a bullet in your mouth / You spit it into Dad’s gun”) before he can find an unsettling kind of acceptance in the final poem, “A Horse Grazes in My Shadow” –
I wish the god of this place / would put me in its mouth / until I dissolve
How can you fail to notice the use of the word ‘mouth’ in each poem and the connection between them?