Poetry Book Review:
by Dustin E. Nispel
Young poets are often raw and unrefined even when displaying obvious talent. Such is the case with Dustin E. Nispel, whose first chapbook Transiens Essendum
from Marigold Editing does a fabulous job of creating its own path to paradise. The chapbook's cover does an excellent job of setting expectations for the 12-poem chapbook and the poems themselves are fancy to live up to them.
Lacking perfection in Nispel's case is a virtue. His poetry is spiritual, mystical, romantic, and lyrical. It's like reading Tagore through the Troubadours. Prepare yourself for a post-Postmodern Renaissance.
is a Latin phrase meaning 'a passing through of this existence'. To that Nispel exemplifies a delicate and linguistic touch of honor.
If there is any weakness in Transiens Essendum
it is that the poems exert too much of a self-centered aura. All of them are written in first person, but this is a forgivable offense simply because of Nispel's fresh use of language even as he employs classical devices like alliteration and internal rhyme. He also has that rare gift of delivering a spiritual message without being preachy and an even rarer gift of putting simple emotion into his words without covering them with sentimentality.
These lines from "A Reconciled Reoccurrence" are a great example of fresh language and simple sweetness:
Do you remember the sand of Nag's Head ~
When we found ourselves in the ocean
And we were one, under the full moon of Thursday's
We all remember our first romantic walk on the beach, but at Nag's Head? That isn't the first place any of us would think of and the name hardly sounds romantic, which makes it all the more believable. Then there is the enjambment of Thursday's / July and the awkward reversal of the words to give ownership of the month to a day of the week: As brilliant as an infant's first words.
Phrases like "excuse me when I kiss the trees / That breathe for us to exist" and "The news came solo" are jaw dropping for their simplicity as well as their lyrical freshness. Nispel needs to stay away from words like "soul", which he relies on too often, and push himself a little further to make the language a bit more 21st-century appealing on some of the lines, but many of his metaphors are as apt as Truth in Sunday's dress. And I absolutely love his titles:
- My Pen Was a Match
- Lost in the Mind Shaft
- A Reconciled Reoccurrence
- My Arc
- Her Love Was a Cancer
- Heartache Hangover
- Black Heart O'Mine
- Soul Side
- Remember Me on the Last Day
- Tears of Heaven
- 11:11 (one of my favorite titles)
"Tears of Heaven" gives a glimpse into Nispel's crisp language and classical rhythms:
I kissed the wind naked ~
In the purest form of energy I knew
And she answered back with drops of light
Stirring her most intoxicating brew
That fed the stage in our stars
Most urgently dying view.
Soul rowed ships in a sea of greed
Still flying their red ~ white ~ and blue
And the careless rowing past
The extinction of the seas.
Had red-cough laughs ~
Through these blood-borne fumes ~
Blanketing our blackened breeze,
Beholding the white crosses chiseled
To our fallen "hero" tombs.
I don't like giving away endings, but this poem deserves it. The last three lines conclude:
And the sun's divine rays
Woke my face up naked ~
There is not a better ending anywhere in the chapbook, though not many are any worse. This Sanskrit salutation is a nuanced blend of cultural handshaking and proves Nispel's spirit to be one of peace, which is also evidenced in the line "And gently brushing off our war pounding fist" found in "My Pen Was a Match." The rhyme and alliteration in "Tears of Heaven" coupled with the terrific contemporary lyricisms is the kind of freshness a new millennium of poetry needs, and Nispel has it by the hookah full. Through and through, Transiens Essendum
is lively, melancholy, and creates a fantasy-like blend of romance and mysticism. It makes me want to kiss the wind naked.
To order your copy of Transiens Essendum by Dustin E. Nispel
send $6 to 4820 Hikey Street, Dover, Pa. 17315.