Reviewing Reinhart

Horrific Punctuation (Tiger’s Eye Press)

A short book of poetry, Horrific Punctuation is full of questions. As I read, I felt like Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas asking “What does it mean? What does it mean?!?

I found myself reading poems two and three times before I could decide what my take on it was. Tantalizing syllables and structure acted as bait, keeping me pinned to the pages as I tried to decipher meanings and secrets.

The most thought provoking poem in this collection, for me, was Lost: Cat, Dead and/or Alive. I’m left with a feeling of indecision, not unlike what I feel as I stand in the store looking at “eighty-five brands of dog tail detergent/shampoo.” It sticks with me, teasing at my brain as my subconscious mind pecks at the deeper meaning.

Then I realize my deep questing feels the same as when I actually stand in an store aisle, trying to decipher which product is best/will save me/change things for the better. I decide that dissecting the meaning from everything is a soul-wilting exercise and I read the poem for the sixth time and just enjoy. I also make a pact with myself just to grab the closest bottle of “dog tail detergent/shampoo” next time I shop and stop deliberating over the trivial.

My favorite poem in this collection was Attack of the Saurus, a hilarious and delicious adventure where a thesaurus goes completely out of control. I was just reading a blog post from Notes from an Alien where Zoltai shares how your thesaurus can be trouble for your work. Perfect timing. Read that post here.

encircled (Prolific Press)

This collection is simply beautiful. It’s a collection of people, memorializing the mundane and elevating the every day. I laughed with poems such as amusement park thrills. Other verse broke my heart. Of those, I’d never noticed and somebody’s father stand out as painful reminders of how alone each of us is. Even surrounded by masses, we each run the risk of being a lonely island.

Reinhart catches the essence of people in this collection and I find myself curious to know these individuals. Who is Jennifer from Jennifer worries? These poems make me wish I were wealthy so I could help her. And that’s what makes this collection a brilliant success in my mind–it elecits emotional response.

broken bottle of time (Alban Lake Publishing)

The darkest of the three collections I read, broken bottle of time is a sharper, darker read. Often from the viewpoint of something alien, one of the poems that particularly stands out to me is payoff, also one of my favorites.

Reinhart looks at our common experiences as an outsider. The familiar passes through him, and like light, is bent until we can see it a new way… or perhaps the way it was all along. I do know that I will never be able to go shopping at the all night grocery without thinking of stardust, supernova spillage and Schrodinger’s puppy.

Three collections of poetry by the same poet, but each stands alone as an individual. While I can see the Reinhart in each of these, the differences are enough that they could be by three different people.

I believe it speaks of the versatility of this writer as one that evolves with his work, adapting to his changing environment, without compromising his own creative essence.

You can read my interview on John Reinhart, Arsonist Under an Ashtray, here.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith's work has been published in several print and online publications, including the “Horror Writers Association's Poetry Showcase” vols. 2-4, “Christmas Lites” vols. 1-6 and the “Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy” anthology. She has nearly 20 books of speculative fiction and poetry for adults, YAs and children. Her first collection of poetry, “In Favor of Pain,” was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award.
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2 Responses to Reviewing Reinhart

  1. Ah…

    Cool…

    Thanks…

    Name’s Zoltai :-)

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