Cry Foul the Blink of a Watchman by Russel J Dorn
Published by Russel Dorn
Published 2 December 2016
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
In Cry Foul the Blink of a Watchman, Russell J. Dorn takes readers for an often sombre, sometimes joyful, and occasionally humorous ride through the teenage years and early twenties of an introspective young American man. Written as a private catharsis of remorse, lost love, and guilt, Dorn opens up this dark collection of poems for others to read for the first time, in hopes readers might find common feelings, shared experiences, life between the lines, and occasional bits of beauty. Topics such as blame, loneliness, inequality, relationships, and depression, as well as more fantastical themes such as werewolves, mermaids, folklore, romance, and Mountain Dew are within. Sharp and unapologetically brutal on issues of anxiety, unrequited love, religion, and human nature, this collection doesn’t shy away from tough or haunting topics.
The poem settings take place in a stark landscape of the cold desert of northern Nevada, as well as in landscapes of the poet’s imagination. Here we take a look through the crack in the mirror to glimpse the other crooked side in order to explore perspectives, psychology, and doubt. Here also is an examination of life in Reno, a twenty-four seven, casino town and the surrounding valleys. These poems from the creator of Felipe Femur the Skeleton and his ironic monster friends transport the reader into the complex adult landscape under the skin—the bones of the matter, the underlying structure. Gain insight to the mind that created the Halloween town of Toonstone with these often gloomy verses too poignant for the faint of heart. Honest to the core, Russell J. Dorn never dilutes or dulls the sharpness of his words.
A chapbook of forty-nine poems from over a decade and a prose introduction to bind them together in their categories of remorse, perspective, love lost, and trust. Poems range from silly to serious. The poetry anthology encourages acceptance of change and moving forward as a person and as a society. The four sections, These Skeletal Remains, Intact; A Crack in the Reflection; Drown in the Shallow Sea; and The Blink of a Watchman relate to remorse, perspective, love & loss, and trust, respectively.
From Skeleton, Be Still
I always knew you’d leave a beautiful outline
for you are purity in all its imperfection
Your small chest once caged a heart for me
but horror! mine still beats a tune for you
WHAT I THOUGHT
This is my first time reading the poet. I bought this at random a few weeks ago when it was on offer on Amazon.
I have mixed feelings about the poems in this collection. There are some really good poems like Skeleton Be Still, In The Rearview Mirror and The Mermaid but there are other poems that just left me cold. Overall, I found this quite a mixed bag that just didn’t work for me. I felt the poems were too uneven to work really well together. I liked the fact that poems are quite dark which makes a refreshing change from poems laced with excessive sentiment. I enjoyed some of the poems but don’t think they worked well together as a collective whole. As a side note, the standard Amazon UK price is £8.29 for the Kindle version is way too steep for such a short collection of poems by someone who isn’t a big name in poetry. I’d pay that for some of my favourite poets such as Simon Armitage, Liz Lochhead, Carol Anne Duffy and Jackie Kay but not for anyone else. Overall, there is something to enjoy in this collection but I wouldn’t recommend paying full price.