Because I am not reading, but hearing, I can’t tell if this is narrative poetry or fantastic prose. Who cares? Down with genres! Isaac Timm’s reading does not need to be constrained by literary convention.
He’s got a writing style that makes me want to do a documentary on the strange ways of the suburban human…those wild, Freudian animals foraging for food on Tuesdays, carrying their offspring on their backs, pausing to hold hands with their mates….more specifically, Isaac Timm has a writing style that makes me want to write poetry and be a more clever tender person. Nothing is better than work so well-done that it becomes inspirational.
There are a lot of poems in this video. Listen to all of them and be wild and free and melancholy and wounded. Here are some elements Isaac uses that I thought to be especially good.
February 14th 1985 begins at 5:55. One thing particularly excellent is the build up and use of tension, both internal and external. The external tension starts the poem: frustrated parents, a long car trip to a neurologist, an diagnosis never stated. For the purposes of the story, the lack of outright explanation only strengthens the tension. This is because near the end, the original stakes are replaced with the internal conflict: the narrator wants comfort, and wants to give comfort, but the people he trusts are both broken and he’s apparently not capable of giving strength. The really great thing is that while the first problem never went away, it gets replaced just for a moment by something deeper and bigger.
Sunday Morning starts at 10:00 in the video. It’s got a particularly effective opening line, partially due to subject matter, but more especially due to a really tasty simile. “North side of King’s Canyon Route 50. A semi truck burns like a paper lantern, aluminum sides flaking into the sky, leaving behind the trailer’s red bones.” He begins with a serious sounding location, like a news event, immediately catches audience attention. The simile follows, and bringing up the rear of this gut-impact sentence is some humanizing personification. After this strong opening, we get to hear about people’s reactions, which makes the personification of the truck a great tie-in to the next few lines.
Basically, all the poems are made of really strong writing, and explaining all the good things would take forever. So listen to them yourself and see what’s good.
Thanks, Isaac, for taking me on a journey I couldn’t walk alone.
Not to be forgotten, from the same Helicon West we also have the Open Mic readers: Ebony Tyler, Aaron Timm, Diana Hardy, Amy Nelson, Felicia Rose, Brittany McDonald, Tim Keller, and Lizzy. Thanks, all, for sharing!
-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger