While THE MIND is about the remarkable way John thinks, it speaks to the larger questions of how we all think, how we came to be sapient in the first place, and how we develop as thinking souls in space and time. Keeping the language of his prose-like tercets basic, unadorned, and free-flowing, he accomplishes poetry of significance and elemental beauty. Left brain contemplation of structure and systems aligns itself with right brain wonder and whimsy, but neither hemisphere dominates in the work, so the reader can only expect the unexpected. And the rewards are great: poems of curiosity, orientation with the universe, sorrow, finding center, and surprising hilarity. (Only John can make the idea of rocks funny.)
If I were teaching from John’s book, I would encourage poetry students to examine his masterful skill with personification. I would encourage philosophy students to wrestle with his experiences of phenomena. I would ask psychology and neuro-biology candidates to experience the brain from inside-out. I would ask physics students to explore how we process space and time in an era when such concepts are continually challenged and updated. I would ask divinity students to consider creation from the point of view of the created. THE MIND weighs so many approaches to thinking and being that you won’t devour it in one or two sittings. Read it as you would the Book of Genesis, or Hawking, or an introduction to meditation. You will not think the same way ever again after reading it.
John FitzGerald is a poet, writer, and attorney for the disabled. His poetry collections include Favorite Bedtime Stories, finalist for the Julie Suk Award, and The Mind, semifinalist for the Alice James Award, (both from Salmon Poetry). He is widely published in literary journals and anthologies, notably The Warwick Review, World Literature Today, Plume, The Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, December, From the Fishouse, The American Journal of Poetry, Human and Inhuman Monstrous Poems (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series), and Poetry: Reading it, Writing it, Publishing it (Salmon Poetry).
Poet, publisher, and Pushcart nominee Amélie Frank has authored poetry collections and one spoken word CD. Her work has appeared in Art/Life, Lummox, Poeticdiversity, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, Levure Litérraire, Cultural Weekly, Wide Awake, 1001 Knights, and Voices From Leimert Park Redux. Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center and the cities of Venice and Los Angeles have honored her for her activism and leadership in the Southern California poetry community.
©Amélie Frank/John FitzGerald