Un-rested Spirit: Visions in Poetry, by Brian D. Hoerth, spans the author’s career in law-enforcement and the tensions of personal relationships. The book’s 20 poems and corresponding pictures offer readers visual and poetic insight into the psyche of an everyday man struggling to make sense of his world.
In the tradition of Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz,” and Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays,” Hoerth’s poems provide a glimpse into singular moments that become acts of intensity through his words and their scope. In “Killed In Action,” for example, Hoerth describes a war hero killed in the line of duty whose sacrifice is taken for granted, even as his death devastates those left behind. “You’re so alone / And he’s so far gone / He’s out fighting a war / With a purpose unknown / Six months of terror / With five months gone / He’s out in the war zone / You’re out on the front lawn…” The poem “Brown Bag Christmas,” evokes a similar sense of loneliness in a moment: “It’s going to be a brown bag Christmas / One that I will spend alone / Not a trace of friends or family / Three thousand miles from home.”
While Hoerth’s commitment to looking closely at everyday moments is commendable, more attention to vivid language would keep the reader better engaged throughout. Too often, he reaches for a clichÃ©, such as in “Pictures on the Wall,” which begins: “Lonely nights / Pictures on the wall / Pictures of you / Hearing you call.”
Fresh and more specific imagery could help readers connect more deeply to these poems. In addition, focusing less on rhyming and more on line breaks could add greater texture and meaning. Still, these poems are easily accessible and Hoerth’s collection of meditations on small, seemingly insignificant moments in daily life may appeal to those looking for a non-intimidating entry into the world of poetry.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.