Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Loss by Matt Finney

On this somber October evening, I will temporarily shift my focus from Do Make Say Think to a book of poetry by Matt Finney, part namesake of the ambient group Finneyerkes. If you’re not familiar with Finneyerkes, they create dense and nuanced soundscapes punctuated by terse and, oftentimes, bleak spoken word. Matt Finney is responsible for the spoken word on the albums and so it should come as no surprise to fans of the band that Finney’s first published book of poetry (the aptly titled Loss), is a solid and impressive work. Over the course of its forty poems, Finney invites the reader into his dystopian and solipsistic universe. The book begins with “Stuck” - a meditation on the tortured life of the writer. All the poems are composed using free verse, allowing the words to breathe. Finney allows his poems to pace themselves. He is economical in his word choice and, as a result, the words never come across as contrived. The artwork included in the book is exquisite and a perfect compliment to the narrative. The interactive format lends much to the enjoyment of the work. Loss is a very introspective work and the faint of heart will doubtless find some of its passages difficult to stomach. Finney is meticulous in detailing the topography of his inner world. Finney's facility with words is unique. His voice is insistent and unmistakable. It’s apparent that Finney feels very deeply. But unlike many contemporary poets who tend towards melancholia, Finney never panders to the readers’ expectations. His efforts to chronicle his experiences are tireless. His pain is real and when Finney says that “the truth is that everything I’ve ever told you is true,” I believe him.

(Loss is available for free download at Dot Contemporary, which you can access here)

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