Synopses & Reviews
Zachary Schomburg has delivered his latest work from a dark place, where little machines repeat in a hollow voice, "this is only further proof of your badness." Presented in a single narrative, The Book of Joshua is a sorry heart begged out of dreams, death & a horse's eye. It is an epic journey not only affirming that "there is a difference between sadness and suffering;" but that Schomburg is one of the most unusual poets writing today, pushing his work beyond our familiarity. These poems have a thirst for blood, but they don't yet know exactly what to do with their hands. The Book of Joshua calls out in hunger and loneliness, "I didn't feel like living in anything not shaped like me anymore."
"With wit, humor, tenderness, and his characteristic, logic-bending surrealism, Schomburg (Fjords, vol. I) probes into the subjects of futurity, personal history, and mythmaking. Short, dated prose poems (titled '1977' through '2044') comprise the book's first two sections, 'Earth' and 'Mars,' and propel a narrative of discovery and self-making just beyond the borders of a recognizable world. In this dreamscape, the missing presence of 'Joshua' haunts every turn: a figure in 'a white boat floating on blood'; a name carved on the side of a spaceship; a name uttered by friends and family. This interlocutor, a vessel and keeper of dreams, acts as the big 'Other' driving our protagonist's hopes and doubts. 'I didn't feel like living in a thing not shaped like me anymore,' Schomburg writes. 'I woke up dangling from an umbilical cord... And there you were, Joshua, on the blood in a white boat, rocking.' In the final section, 'Blood,' Schomburg reinserts the images developed earlier in lineated, page-wandering poems, once again addressing Joshua. But here, the narrative explodes: 'white boat rocking// swans/ rocking// a cradle on a// dirty/ loop... // where were you I was calling.' And the language only grows increasingly volatile from there: 'do we even know enough to die// who are you what/ year is new.' (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Zachary Schomburg is the author of THE MAN SUIT (Black Ocean, 2007), SCARY, NO SCARY (Black Ocean, 2009), FJORDS VOL. 1 (Black Ocean, 2012) and THE BOOK OF JOSHUA (Black Ocean, 2014). He co-does Octopus Books and Octopus Magazine. He lives in Portland, OR.