I always enjoy finding a writer I like at or near the beginning of her or his career. It was my good fortune to work with Mike Bazzett as his poetry began to take the leap from having poems featured in a wide variety of impressive publications to having his own chapbooks and books. I can’t find the original source for it, but it is often said that one should try to say the most in the fewest words, and Bazzett does this in this new collection, nicely put together by Horsethief Books. There is not a single bit of fat to be found anywhere.
The poems seem to center around the idea of boundaries, or, more to the point, the dissolving of boundaries, as in “Report from Beyond” and the gently potent “The Date.” There are also more than a few stunning pieces here, such as “Thought Grenade,” “Coming Home,” and the absolutely paralyzing, “Afterward.” (Do NOT read “Afterward” before bed; I kid you not.)
Bazzett has received a 2017 NEA fellowship in Poetry. I can’t wait to read the results.