Book Review – Arclight by John Biscello

Arclight, by poet John Biscello, is an intriguing book brimming with possibilities. The book is divided into six diverse sections that carry themes through each section and tie them together with spirituality and attention to the relationships between people and creator, people and others, people and self.

I enjoyed the mix of short little poems that captured the intricacies of love and relationships, as well as the longer poems that delve into what it means to be connected with the spiritual, and the complications of love. Arclight is always drawing comparisons, answering and composing questions. Some of my favorite lines were about the Self, and its bonds to the heart.

from Beacon

The hidden vocabulary

of my heart

is reduced to essentials,

from Tatters

For many years

I asked Grief to

wait outside my window,

a peripheral guest

from I See Myself

He was my father,

still is. The bond between us thick

as viscous chains,

the sort that perpetrate magma,

and rattle and clank

when carried by the blue shivery breath

of ghosts

One of my favorite poems in the book, Funky Monk, describes the Muse as monk, an eccentric character breaking the bonds of solemnity to revel in life, to ponder the vast mysteries of the universe, causing bright introspection in the poet.

from Funky Monk

peer through the peephole 

and see my monk 

dancing freely 

and wildly 

amidst the parchment 

that is now whirling 

confetti-like around the room

Throughout the book, there is a concentration of poems concerned with love, miracles, and religion that opens the reader’s eyes to how marvelous the world can be. The poems ask a lot of questions, sometimes answering them, sometimes leaving the mystery up to the reader to decide. In one section are lots of poems about women poets and other famous women, tributes to their importance and uniqueness, then poems about male writers that do the same. It’s an interesting look into people we hear about, but never imagined what their inner world could be like. The concluding section is a long dance between poet and personal mythology, a fitting end to an intriguing poetry book. Definitely worth a read.

from 6. Intraverse, Epitaph for a Beginning

I, a perpetual guest

bearing witness 

to my own seeds 

and desires, 

feel at home, 

happy prey to a luminous gust