Kevin Prufer is a rare poet who manages to layer narratives and weave metrical variations seamlessly into his work, all while placing it on the page in an organic and “effortless” way. This is especially notable when we come to understand the process by which his poems are born; the disparate connections and glorious jumps, as though into blackness, that he makes in each piece.
Churches (Four Way Books, 2014) is a collection that dazzles with sound and macabre landscapes where anything is possible. The title of a poem that we did not feature (and listeners must seek out) is “The Idea of the Thing and Not the Thing Itself” is, in my opinion, an excellent representation of the entire collection. It is as though ideas manifest into characters and anecdotes just to explain themselves better, then turn back into the intangible and unreachable, leaving only a hint of themselves in the verse.
Prufer is a poet that you can trust with your mind. He may bring you to the reaches of subjective reality but you always return somehow more whole and with a greater understanding of the human conditions of suffering, grief, love, and fear. He is modern poet whose lines you can scan for meter and device! Just as the Romantics, he brings the abstract of Negative Capability to life on the page. It is for these reasons and many more that I suggest lovers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and all semblances of the written word, pick up Kevin Prufer’s newest collection, Churches and let him take you where he will.